Snowpack- Slightly Above Normal

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Derrick Wyle taking snow measurements on Gore Pass. Middle Park snow courses averaged 117% of normal for this time of year.
Derrick Wyle taking snow measurements on Gore Pass. Middle Park snow courses averaged 117% of normal for this time of year.

Press Release – The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Kremmling Field Office snow surveyors Mark Volt and Derrick Wyle took the February 1 snow survey measurements during the last days of January.

Snowpack in the high-elevation Mountains above Middle Park is at 117% of the 30-year average. (1980-2010). Last year’s snowpack at this time was only at 80% of average. It is still early in the winter and snowpack could change significantly by May…But we’re are off to a darn good start.

Snow density is averaging 21%, which means that for a foot of snow there are 2.56 inches of water. That’s pretty light but typical for early in the winter.

Reported readings for the major river basins in Colorado are also doing well.: The upper Colorado River Basin averages 112%; Gunnison River Basin, 104%; South Platte River Basin, 113%; Yampa and White River Basins, 108%; Arkansas River Basin, 125%; Upper Rio Grande
Basin, 88%; San Miguel, Dolores, Animas, and San Juan River Basins 89%; and the Laramie and North Platte River Basins 104% of average for this time of year.

Most of the snow courses around Middle Park have been read since the 1940s. Snow course readings are taken at the end of each month, beginning in January and continuing through April.
March is historically the snowiest month and the April 1st. readings are the most critical for predicting runoff and summer water supplies, as most of our high country snowpack peaks around that time.
For further information, including real-time snow and precipitation data for SNOTEL (Automated Snow Telemetry) sites, visit http://www.co.nrcs.usda.gov/snow/index.html.

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