Colorado snowpack accumulations off to strong start

Colorado’s Jan. 1 snowpack is at 136 percent of average, its highest level for that date in more than a decade, a U.S. Department of Agriculture agency said today.

The snowpack also is at 159 percent of last year’s Jan. 1 reading, the Natural Resource Conservation Service’s Snow Survey Office in Denver said in a news release.

The last time the state’s snowpack was this high at the start of the year was in 1997, when it was 160 percent of average.

The latest readings reflect a sharp turnaround in southern Colorado from just a few weeks ago. The San Juan, Animas, Dolores and San Miguel river basins were at just 57 percent of average on Dec. 16, but a shift in the Pacific storm track to the south boosted that amount to 140 percent of average by the end of the month.

Meanwhile, the northern part of the state has continued to see consistent snowfall, the Snow Survey Office said. Snowpack levels range from 126 percent of average in the South Platte Basin to 147 percent of average in the Colorado and North Platte basins.

The Colorado River Basin’s snowpack is at 184 percent of last year at this point.  The Yampa and White river basins are at 196 percent of last year’s Jan. 1 reading and 145 percent of average.

“This is a welcome start to the year for Colorado’s water users, and we’re hoping these conditions remain with us for the next few months,” Allen Green, state conservationist with the Natural Resource Conservation Service, said in a news release.


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