Wednesday March 1, 2023

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February snowfall might have fallen behind January’s brisk pace, but the Upper Colorado River Basin will go into March still well above average snowpack levels.

With all the headlines about snow in California and Utah, the area that matters most to the Las Vegas valley and Lake Mead is the region around the Colorado River’s headwaters — where the river is born among the peaks in and around Rocky Mountain National Park.

Overall, the Upper Basin is at 133% of normal snow water equivalent (SWE) in the snowpack that will provide water for 40 million people this year, according to an update today from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. And while 133% is still quite a bit above average, the number has been shrinking since mid-January, when “atmospheric river” moisture dropped off.

Storms in the southern Rockies have helped elevate the numbers. Snow in the San Juan range and parts of southern Colorado have built snowpack levels far above average.

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