Post By: Barnacles Posted: 1/21/2023 10:57:22 AMPoints: 3274
USDA posts some really good current tracking on our snowpack status. Struggling a little bit in my Arkansas drainage, but good to see the rest of the state is in decent shape. Best news for us might be that California is getting blasted. Not sure how that shakes out, but maybe we'll get to keep more water in the SW this year. Sure hope places like Blue Mesa, Powell, Mead can get out of their death spiral.
Reply by: brookieflyfisher Posted: Jan. 24, 11:07:19 AM Points: 6193
We're barely 2/3 through winter. Making projections now is...not advisable. Especially based of USDA NRCS maps, which can be rather misleading.
For example, where we're at right now across the Interior West (ignoring California) is similar to where we were at this time last year--and then we had about a 2-3 month long dry spell and we ended up with some of the driest conditions on record by the spring. I'm certainly hoping that what we've seen so far will continue. That said, I usually don't pay much attention to snowpack numbers until the middle/end of March.
What I will say is the idea that one average/above average year is going to fix Powell, Mead, Mesa, or anywhere else is...highly unlikely. We need 2-3 years for places like Blue Mesa, and 5-10+ years for Powell to even sniff the levels it had in the 90s. That's not going to happen.
I agree with brookieflyfisher. Too early to tell yet and even a incredible snowpack year will not fill the reservoirs. We need many years of above average to make up what has been lost. Powell is really low which means Blue Mesa and Flaming Gorge will have to keep releasing way more than they want to. This also means Lake Mead will be hurting as well.
The reality is we need to make some serious permanent changes to water usage to have any hope of long term reservoir sustainability. We unfortunately have short term memory loss when it comes to drought.
Reply by: eron Posted: Feb. 2, 10:01:22 AM Points: 1163
Looks like we're going into our February lull with some good numbers on the western half anyway. Certainly better than the alternative! Hopefully the eastern half can get caught up this spring. Not really sure who's speculating/projecting that an above average snow year in western Colorado is going to fill all the major reservoirs out west, but whatever... Anytime we're above average is all we can hope for. Lots of good current & historical info on this site Barnacles, certainly a site I visit often. Thanks for posting it.