Rocky Mountain Snowmelt Runoff Above Average

Rocky Mountain Snowmelt Runoff Above Average

Graph showing snow water equivalents Seminoe Reservoir on the upper North Platte River.
Figure 1. Bureau of Reclamation Wyoming Area Office Snow Water Content graph for the Seminoe Reservoir. The black line represents a 30-year average. (Source: Bureau of Reclamation Great Plans Region)

The mid-March storms that brought devastation to areas of eastern Nebraska, also brought a considerable amount of precipitation to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and Wyoming. As of March 27, the upper North Platte River is at 122% of average for snow water equivalent and 119% of average for precipitation (Source: http://www.wrds.uwyo.edu/wrds/nrcs/snowprec/snowprec.html).

Snow water content graphs from the Bureau of Reclamation Wyoming Area office show a tremendous increase in water content for the Snowy Range and Sierra Madre mountains in Wyoming. Figure 1 shows the Seminoe Reservoir approximately 4 inches above the average of 22 inches, an 18% increase.

We can expect a high amount of snowmelt runoff for the North Platte River this spring, particularly given snow events will continue in April. A firmer estimate of the amount of runoff will be projected at the annual Bureau of Reclamation meeting April 11, at the Goshen County Fairgrounds, Torrington, Wyo. An update will be posted to CropWatch.