Melt season a full month behind normal
Colorado River Basin snowpack so massive they’ve had to redraw the scale used to measure it
Upper Colorado River snow water equivalent (SWE) has become so massive they’ve had to redraw the scale used to measure it (percent of average values at the bottom of the graph):
There’s approximately still 10.8 inches (26 cm) of SWE left in the snowpack that feeds the mighty Colorado River which provides water to more than 40 million residents in Las Vegas, Phoenix, and southern California. The average SWE for today is usually seen on May 10th.
We’re a month behind normal with the melt season, in part due to the massive amounts of precipitation that fell this winter (a NON-El Niño year, I might add) combined with well below normal temperatures in April and May. Eastern Nevada still has over 13 inches (33 cm) of SWE, all of which feeds into Lake Mead.
As a resident of Phoenix for the past 16 years, this is welcome news. I can only hope that the non-El Niño conditions of the past two years which have led to record snowpacks in California and above normal precipitation in the Colorado River Basin continues its generosity going forward.