Colorado snowpack above average

Lakewood-February 2008 marked the third consecutive month of above average snowfall across the

Colorado mountains.  The latest snow surveys, conducted by the USDA – Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS),show above average snowpack accumulations have now been reached in every major river basin of the state.  The

mountains of southern Colorado continue to report the highest snowpack percentages in the state.  Snowpack readings in the Rio Grande Basin of southern Colorado continue to track at a near record pace at most locations, according to Allen Green, State Conservationist with the NRCS.        With the abundance of snowpack, along with good reservoir storage across most of the state, this year′s water supplies appear to be the best in over a decade.  Some streams and rivers across southern Colorado can expect to have runoff volumes of more than 150 percent of average for the spring and summer months.  Meanwhile, above

average streamflows can also be expected in the Gunnison, Arkansas, and Colorado River basins this year.

    For nearly the entire state, snowpack percentages have increased each month since January 1.  "The only exception was in the Rio Grande basin which actually decreased slightly during February, but continues to report the highest percentages in the state, at 169 percent of average," said Green.

    Colorado′s statewide snowpack increased to 135 percent of average this month, a slight increase from the 129 percent of average measured on February 1.  The state continues to report the highest snowpack levels since 1997, when the state′s snowpack was reported at 143% of average on March 1.  Since that year, the state has only had one other year with an above average snowpack, which was 109 percent of average in 2005.  Currently, the state′s snowpack has already exceeded the normal maximum for an average season, which isn′t typically reached until mid-April.

    This year′s snowpack has far exceeded last year′s

readings, nearly statewide.  Across southern Colorado, this year′s snowpack is approaching nearly two times that of a year ago.  The only exception to this pattern is in the South Platte basin, where the current snowpack is near that of last year.