Local snowpacks rise, but are still below normal

Snowpack conditions improved in the Upper Colorado and Gunnison river basins in January, but the statewide average changed little and remains well below normal, the Natural Resources Conservation Service says.

The Upper Colorado was at 68 percent of average Tuesday, and the Gunnison was at 72 percent. While still well under the norm, those figures compare to 60 and 64 percent, respectively, at the start of the year.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service says much-needed storms last month in parts of western Colorado were offset by drops in snowpack in southern and eastern basins. As a result, the statewide total as of Feb. 1 was just 72 percent of average, up only a percentage point from Jan. 1.

The Yampa and White river basins also failed to benefit from the January storms and stood at just 60 percent of average as of Tuesday.

Other snowpack totals: San Miguel, Dolores, Animas and San Juan basins, 78 percent; Arkansas, 85 percent; Upper Rio Grande, 85 percent; Laramie and North Platte, 68 percent; and South Platte, 80 percent.

Meanwhile, reservoir storage in most basins remains above average, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service says that should ease potential water shortages this year. Only the Arkansas (94 percent) and the Rio Grande (66 percent) have below-average levels.


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