State’s snowpack surplus slipping

A dry January has erased much of the lead Colorado’s snowpack had built up earlier in the season.

The state’s snowpack fell from 136 percent of average on Jan. 1 to 117 percent at the start of this month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service said.
Particularly dry conditions returned to southwest Colorado, which last month received only about a quarter of its normal January precipitation. That area also had started out the winter in poor shape until being hit by giant storms in later December.

Drops in snowpack occurred across the state last month, but all basins remain above average with the exception of the Rio Grande, which is at 80 percent.

“Without those big storms back in December, most of the state would be well below average right now,” Allen Green, state conservationist with the NRCS, said in a news release. “At this point, they’ve allowed us to endure a dry month, yet maintain good snowpack readings nearly everywhere.”

The Colorado River Basin is at 135 percent of average, down from 147 percent a month ago. Other readings as a percentage of average include the Gunnison and Yampa/White, 126 percent; South Platte, 120; North Platte, 132; Arkansas, 103, and San Miguel/Dolores/Animas/San Juan, 106.


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