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Old 03-09-2014, 09:34 PM
 
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
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Josseppie wrote: The snow pack is above normal so no matter how you spin it that is good for the state.

Every snowflake counts, so there is no question that it is good for Colorado, but not to the extent that you are making it out to be.
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Old 03-09-2014, 09:46 PM
 
Location: Pueblo - Colorado's Second City
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CosmicWizard View Post
Every snowflake counts, so there is no question that it is good for Colorado, but not to the extent that you are making it out to be.
I understand that everything is not all roses now that we have above normal snow pack. I was just pointing out that its far from the doom and gloom jazz makes it out to be. If you look at the newspaper reports on it they same about the same thing I have. Reservoirs will be up and there will be more water for the farmers. Plus there is still a month and half to go of traditionally the snowiest months of the year.
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Old 03-09-2014, 10:12 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Josseppie View Post
I understand that everything is not all roses now that we have above normal snow pack. I was just pointing out that its far from the doom and gloom jazz makes it out to be. If you look at the newspaper reports on it they same about the same thing I have. Reservoirs will be up and there will be more water for the farmers. Plus there is still a month and half to go of traditionally the snowiest months of the year.
Sit in your bubble if you want. Too bad that you weren't riding with me last week going through an area of southern Colorado that I've known all my life. The particular area is a significant southern Colorado watershed. Here is what you would have seen:

The Snotel site up at 10,000 ft. was showing more snowpack than it has had all winter, water content measuring about 85% of normal. Great, right? Well, except for the fact that, when you looked out over the whole watershed, there would normally be about 2' to 4' of snowpack all the way from 9,000 ft. down to 8,000 ft. elevation at this time of year--that elevation range making up close to 50% of the area of the watershed that normally gets winter snowpack. This year there is practically no snowcover at all below about 8,800 ft.--half of the watershed with essentially no stored moisture in the form of snowpack.

Now, that is a real problem because it is that "low elevation" snowpack that comprises much of the early streamflows that occur in spring and early summer. Without it, irrigators and municipalities have to start drawing from storage as soon as the irrigating season starts. If temperatures are warmer than normal, the higher snow may melt more quickly, meaning that those water users may have adequate water in the early summer, but run short later in the season. Either way, there winds up not being enough water for everybody--some junior water right holders either get shortchanged or may get no water at all. That is a whole lot different from "good enough for this season and will give the farmers and cities plenty of water." Make that statement of yours to one of the farmers or ranchers relying on that watershed for their irrigation water and you might just get an irrigating shovel wrapped around your head. There are some municipalities and domestic water districts that I know of in the area that may have to impose strict water restrictions within the next 30-45 days.

Oh, and the fact that there are May temperatures happening all over southern Colorado in early March only aggravates the problem. Everybody that I know in that area of southern Colorado--most of them people who have lived there for generations--say that, unless the area gets a very much cooler and wetter spring than normal (and no forecasts I've seen are indicating that will be the case), southern Colorado, at least, will be in big trouble for both water supplies and fire danger by summer. I'm praying for a much wetter and cooler spring that proves the forecasters wrong, but those forecasters haven't missed the call on moisture much this winter--when they have missed, it has been that they were over-optimistic about precipitation amounts.
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Old 03-09-2014, 11:44 PM
 
Location: Pueblo - Colorado's Second City
11,702 posts, read 18,141,302 times
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^

The bureau of reclamation disagree with you as the map they put out shows above average snowfall and the Pueblo Board of Water Works is going to lease water on the spot market, something they could do last year. Plus this was information before the last round of storms and now there is even more snow.
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Old 03-10-2014, 12:44 AM
 
Location: Summit County Co
169 posts, read 203,549 times
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A couple of years back we went through a major drought in TN and parts of the SE.

I fly-fish ALOT.....The average CFS on most rivers i fish in the GSMNP is around 250cfs. Most of 2 years, the flows where a trickle at 17-25cfs and warm!

We heard it all. Atlanta was running out of water...major fish-kills(trout)...Govt's freaking out without solutions?

Well, luckily...the sky was not falling!!!! Trout populations where fine....Atlanta could still water the lawns of there McMansions....ETC. Surprising how fast things returned to normal.

I am hoping the same for Co!!!!!!


Jazz....Drought or no drought......Either way...there should be restrictions!!!!
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Old 03-11-2014, 11:20 AM
 
Location: CO/UT/AZ/NM Catch me if you can!
2,791 posts, read 2,879,576 times
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^^^

Well, that's certainly unhappy news. Highway 65 is quite scenic and one of my fav roads over Grand Mesa. Hopefully the road will be repaired sooner rather than later.

Meanwhile, back at the alfalfa ranch here in SW Colorado, the badly needed snow that fell some days back in the southern mountains has coated everything from the La Platas and the rest of the San Juans to Lone Cone and the Uintas in a wonderful shimmer of white. Unfortunately, one or two good snow storms is not going to be enough to break SW and southern Colorado's drought. The highs out here continue to be anywhere from 5 to 10 degrees above normal, often breaking previous records. McPhee Reservoir from which most of our water comes is still only at around 40% or so of capacity. From Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) via The Coyote Gulch site:

Quote:
The snowpack in the northern and central basins continues to track above normal, but the outlook for the southwest portion of the state is not as rosy. The snowpack’s in the Upper Rio Grande and the combined San Juan, Dolores, Animas, and San Miguel basins are tracking below normal as of March 1. Both major basins received beneficial moisture from snow storms in the region in early February, but conditions dried up during the latter part of the month.

Josseppi wrote: The bureau of reclamation disagree with you as the map they put out shows above average snowfall and the Pueblo Board of Water Works is going to lease water on the spot market, something they could do last year. Plus this was information before the last round of storms and now there is even more snow.

Then I guess the folks at the bureau haven't been paying much attention. Perhaps a picture will convey an understanding that words seem to be incapable of bestowing upon certain forum members:


Attached Thumbnails
Colorado and the West is running out of water . . .-snowpackbysubbasin03012014.jpg  
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Old 03-11-2014, 11:50 AM
 
2,254 posts, read 5,294,692 times
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Wink If in southern Colorado

A few comments on the snowpack in southern Colorado.

The last stats I saw only a few days ago were largely positive for Colorado, with only the Dolores and Rio Grande watersheds slightly below normal at, to my best recollection, 93 and 88 percent respectively. All other watersheds were well above to significantly so above normal, the best being the South Platte as, again my best recollection, 148 percent of normal. That is the good news, and welcome. In general northern Colorado should enjoy an improved water situation this summer.

That less wonderful is that this is not uniform. If memory serves, the Arkansas watershed was something like 110 percent of normal, and may have been higher than that. But that figure must reflect an abundance of snow at the headwaters near Leadville. For that watershed is drawn out to the far southeast border of Colorado, and southeast Colorado has received little precipitation this winter, with a good portion of it still suffering the the highest level of drought possible.

In the greater San Luis Valley and, I believe, generally all of southern Colorado more or less that below US 50, this has been a winter of longing and little result. The higher reaches have certainly received significantly more snow, as one might expect, than lower elevations. But while I do not have the stats at this point, fairly sure that places such as Wolf Creek Pass and the higher reaches of the San Juan will be shown to have received less than their normal snowfall.

Friday the snow was blowing horizontal in South Fork (elevation: given variously as eight thousand, two hundred something by different sources, although I remember it as 8,139). One wouldn't know that today, or even shortly thereafter. There is little snow remaining on the valley floor, and whether white or not on the surrounding mountains depends entirely on whether north of south facing. South facing slopes generally exhibit no snow at all until quite high elevations. This miasma extends up along the Rio Grande River until well past Creede (elevation given as 8,799 by one source; while I know it is eight thousand eight hundred something, as listed on the edge of town).

Anyway, the wide largely flat valley extending southwest of Creede is mostly free of snow. The surrounding mountains have snow cover, if, again, south facing slopes can be entirely bare. It is not until one enters Hinsdale County and begins to ascend the lower reaches of Slumgullion Pass that it begins to look seriously like winter. In having passed over South Clear Creek at the Silver Thread campground, and switchbacking above higher, one will at last find the snow on the level high enough to cover in places the top rail of a wooden fence. It looks like winter there. If spring, as now some south facing areas next the road are bare.

By my count, spring arrived in this region in the first week of February. It can and has been customarily cold, with onset of that before Thanksgiving and highs generally below freezing most days through January. That all changed fairly quickly in early February. Now the lows often do not reach freezing, with highs in the 50s and 60s. Until February it more or less looked like winter as it was cold enough to retain much of the snow that fell. Most all of that seems to have mostly evaporated.

Those paying attention may have noticed that while northern Colorado generally received a good winter, nevertheless a strange one. Temperatures have been all over the board. More consistent at higher elevations to an extent. But the Front Range has been snow storms and unusual cold one day, followed the next by spring-like conditions—in winter.

All has become more extreme.

If one drives only a short distance beyond Creede the first signs of the West Fork Complex Fire of 2012 will become visible. By the Broken Arrow dude ranch, or about where the Rio Grande river valley turns northwest, this is all the more readily apparent. With more or less the entire mountainside to the west burned, and so until the turnoff towards Rio Grande Reservoir. The difference is dramatic: heavy forest cover suddenly stops at the edge of the burn to become a mountainside of tree skeletons, accented heavily in the white of snow all the more visible.

This huge wildfire last summer came close to wiping out the town of South Fork. Thankfully it did not, and one visiting there could be excused for wondering what all the fuss was about, as little to no sign of this wildfire visible. There are relatively large wildfire burns next town, but of a slightly older vintage (reflect on that). But look at a map and consider the magnitude of this. Most all of this wildfire occurred in the backcountry, in wilderness few see or can from the highways. But in extent this wildfire reached nearly to South Fork, well past Creede, and to the top of Wolf Creek Pass; there is one vast triangle of once forest lying between these points.

Present conditions allow little reassurance this will not soon be repeated in that yet to burn.
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Old 03-11-2014, 12:46 PM
 
Location: CO/UT/AZ/NM Catch me if you can!
2,791 posts, read 2,879,576 times
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^^^

So there you have it. From Creede and South Fork (Rio Grande basin) all the way to Rico and Dolores and Cortez (Dolores/San Miguel river basins) - south by southwest Colorado remains in the grip of the drought. The forecast for the Four Corners has a depressing sameness to it week after week - above norm highs in the 50's and 60's and zero chance of precipitation. A couple of days ago I spoke with a friend who works for the San Juan NFS and he expressed grave concerns about the coming fire season. Some have gone so far as to predict that the danger will be so high that the Forest Service will impose restrictions on camping at all in certain areas, never mind banning all campfires. The rumor about all camping being banned is a bit extreme I think, but it shows how freaked out some folks around here have become about this abnormal dry spell - which I fear is more permanent than a mere "spell."

I too would be interested to see a map showing what the average temperatures are and have been across the Colorado Mountains. Above average temps can undo the good of all that wonderful snow pack that the rest of Colorado has received. Higher temps will cause the snow to sublime (go from frozen straight to water vapor) rather than melt and run off into the streams and rivers. Warm temps will also cause early run-offs, so that we get the water earlier in the spring when it's not really needed and end up with a shortage when summer arrives. This is one of the many problems Lake Powell has been facing in recent years.

I continue to be amazed when I read that Front Range municipalities scheme to provide water for their growing numbers by diverting even more water from the Western Slope. Even if we wished to give up what remains of our precious and dwindling water supplies, the question that trumps all others is "WHAT water?" You can't build yet another dam or divert water that is not here.
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Old 03-11-2014, 04:09 PM
 
Location: Pueblo - Colorado's Second City
11,702 posts, read 18,141,302 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colorado Rambler View Post



Josseppi wrote: The bureau of reclamation disagree with you as the map they put out shows above average snowfall and the Pueblo Board of Water Works is going to lease water on the spot market, something they could do last year. Plus this was information before the last round of storms and now there is even more snow.

Then I guess the folks at the bureau haven't been paying much attention. Perhaps a picture will convey an understanding that words seem to be incapable of bestowing upon certain forum members:

This was before the latest round of snow storms which hit the southern mountains hard. The other map was from after the storms.
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Old 03-12-2014, 10:33 PM
 
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Yeah, people like Rambler who are living in southwest Colorado and observe the conditions firsthand shouldn't be disputed for telling the true facts. I, for one was just looking at the situation in far southern Colorado--FIRSTHAND--since the last round of "storms." Who is correct in their descriptions? Colorado Rambler and Idunn. Their descriptions are EXACTLY what I personally observed--not to mention way above normal temperatures that is eating what snowpack there is like a halfback swallowing a Happy Meal whole. Anybody who doesn't believe it needs to go and look for themselves. It doesn't take huge expertise to see what way below normal snowpack looks like.
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