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Colorado Snowpack: 'The Situation Is Pretty Grim Right Now'

National Resources Conservation Service

Colorado’s top water experts met Wednesday to assess the state’s snowpack. The news isn’t good.

Drought conditions throughout Colorado continue to get worse. Right now more than half the state is under extreme drought. Climatologists and water resource experts are warning that there is very little chance the coming months will be anything resembling normal.

“The situation is pretty grim right now,” says Wendy Ryan, a climatologist with the state.

The snowpack is sitting at about 62 percent of average; it’s even lower in the Colorado River basin, which includes the Roaring Fork River. In the South Platte River Basin, the snowpack is currently 55 percent of average. Ryan says because the winter started so dry, with each sunshine-filled day, the opportunities to catch up continue to slip away.

“This is going to be another dry year,” Ryan says. “It’s tough to get back to just what our normal snowpack would be at this point. I think there’s about a 10 percent across most basins in the state that they could get to normal conditions. So that doesn’t bode too well.”

That means there’s a ninety percent chance of having a below average snow year, just like last winter. Ryan says back to back drought years will be devastating. We can expect more fires, lower reservoirs, unwatered crops and diminished rivers. Ryan says she’s hoping for a very wet spring just to get back to normal.

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