soil moisture and the new forecast for an above-average year on the Colorado River

A wet January added nearly 3 million acre feet to the Colorado River runoff forecast, with the Feb. 1 forecast update from the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center sitting at 9.5 million acre feet for April through July.

That is 34 percent above average.

The snowpack currently sits at 56 percent above average. The dropoff between snowpack and runoff can in part be explained by soil moisture going into the season. As this map of mid-November conditions shows, soils were dry going into the fall:

courtesy CBRFC

That dry soil soaks up a big gulp of water before melting snow can get to the streams and rivers.

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