The Colorado Avalanche Information Center recently released a fairly comprehensive report on the current state of Colorado’s snowpack, which is pretty indicative of what summer river flows will look like – a huge percentage of our spring/summer flows comes from snowmelt. Find the report here.
Unfortunately, though things have improved over the past month or so, we still have a below-average snowpack and it’s unlikely we’ll recover to average or better. That’s not great news, particularly for waves like Glenwood or Big Sur that tend to get better as flows rise.
A low snowpack can have some surprising side-effects though. Years where front range runoff is low can cause the Powers That Be to steal more water from the west slope and the Colorado basin to supply the front range. A lot of that water comes through the Roberts Tunnel, which feeds Chatfield Reservoir and River Run Park. Though right now, the South Platte drainage is at 93% of average snow water equivalent, so even that silver lining may not be all that likely this year.
On the whole, it’s not looking outstanding, but we still have our snowiest month ahead of us. We’ll see what the spring brings.