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Climatologists concerned over lack of snowpack

Climatologists concerned over lack of snowpack
Published: Dec. 2, 2021 at 10:51 PM MST
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - Climatologists say they are concerned by snowpack levels on the west as Colorado and other western states are dependent on snowpack for water. Experts say Colorado needs an above-average snowpack year to start recovering from dry summers the last two years. Without that snowpack, water levels along the Colorado River will likely remain low.

The Colorado River hit historically low water levels this summer. For the first time, Ute Water had to release water from upstream reservoirs to keep record low levels from sinking even further. Currently in Durango snowpack sits at 34% of normal levels. Mountains further north are showing to be a little better off. Around Ouray and Gunnison they’re seeing 61% of what is considered normal. However, the gap between current conditions and normal snowpack is concerning according to experts.

With warmer temperatures and dryer soil that means recently 100% of snowpack has not been translating to average streamflow. From a water perspective that may mean we could face another year of drought. The good news is that it’s early in the year and most of the time we rely on the spring storms to bring us back up to healthy levels. We do live in a volatile climate so anything can happen but seeing levels below the median is always a concern.

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