Colorado River Basin snowpack so massive they’ve had to redraw the scale used to measure it

Melt season a full month behind normal
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Colorado River Basin snowpack so massive they’ve had to redraw the scale used to measure it

H.B. Schmidt

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):


http://graphs.water-data.com/ucsnowpack/

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.
https://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/snow/snotel-wedata.html

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.


8 thoughts on “Colorado River Basin snowpack so massive they’ve had to redraw the scale used to measure it”

  1. well ENSO swung right to the 1+ this week..so you may well get that wish come true.
    elnino returns
    anyone downriver or stream who hasnt got a new dam dug will be kicking themselves, at a pich Id be dragging some diversion channels into land id like to get a proper soaking to prime it for years to come if possible.
    thats what Im planning to do on my land to catch/divert water and stop runoff, soggy for a while is better than dried out deep soils later on.

  2. Sorry didn’t know where else to post this but Why have you not posted about the rare Snow that fell on Sub Tropical Queensland Australia the other Day? and it wasn’t just on High Ground!

  3. Well this should mean reservoirs will be pretty full come the end of summer and there will be no shortage of irrigation water if indeed any is needed after this spring.

    The stats are equally impressive in Switzerland, where snowack of >400% of average is recorded near the headwaters of one southern tributary of the Rhine, along the Southern Swiss-Italian border and around the Simplon pass. The whole of the Swiss Alps is above average, with much of it >200% of normal.

    These things do happen though. In Switzerland, the one year that was worse was 1970, nearly 50 years ago, so although this spring is a once or twice in a lifetime event, it is not a one in a million….

  4. A month late seems to be the way of things this year when it comes to natural cycles.

  5. Daily discharge, cubic feet per second — statistics for Jun 7 based on 85 years of record more Min
    (2002) 25th
    percen-
    tile Median Mean Most Recent
    Instantaneous
    Value Jun 7 75th
    percen-
    tile Max
    (1938)
    3110 8890 12300 13400 16000 16800 30500

  6. Today the Colorado is running 16,000 cfs near Grand Jct. The Gunnison River which joins the Colorado at Grand Jct is running 15,800 cfs which makes it at flood stage. Without the dams on the Gunnison the river would be near its 1957 peak of 27, 400 cfs.

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