At the Dry Lake snotel station near Steamboat Springs in northern Colorado, there’s more than 4 feet of snow on the ground. By snow water content, that’s 32 percent above average for Jan. 7. Snow that melts there flows down into the Yampa River, which flows into the Green, which flows into the Colorado, which is the whole point. In the upper Yampa, snow pack is currently 35 percent above normal for this time of year.
You have to go all the way back to 1997 to find a Colorado River Basin year with that’s gotten off to a start this good. That was the message this afternoon from Kevin Werner, forecaster with NOAA’s Colorado Basin River Forecast Center, during the first river forecast briefing of the 2010-11 water year.
“This is a different kind of year than what we’ve been seeing, predominantly, for the last decade or so,” Werner said.
At Lake Powell, CBRFC’s forecast calls for 9.5 million acre feet of April-July runoff, 20 percent above average. That is the highest January forecast the CBRFC has made since 1997, according to Werner.