Jan 20, 2015

State's snowmelt is looking promising

Thus far, the water supply outlook for this spring and summer is looking good across much of Wyoming.

Near normal (90 to 105 percent) snowmelt streamflow volumes are expected across almost all major basins across Wyoming, said Jim Fahey, Wyoming National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) hydrologist in Riverton on Jan. 8.

Above average streamflow volumes are expected across portions of the Shoshone River drainage and the Powder River watershed.

The Sweetwater River basin as well as lower portions of the Wind River watershed are forecast to have below-normal streamflow volumes during the upcoming snowmelt season, Fahey said.

Wyoming reservoir storages are slightly above average for January, running 100 to 105 percent, Fahey said.

Buffalo Bill Reservoir was nearly 72 percent full with 463,692 acre feet of storage. Reservoir Inflow was 318.8 cubic feet per second (CFS) and outflow was 354.6 CFS, as of Jan. 15, according to the Bureau of Reclamation.

Big Horn Lake was 89 percent full with 908,144 acre feet of storage. Reservoir Inflow was 2,318.8 CFS and outflow was 2,684.8 CFS on Jan. 15, bureau statistics show.

Boysen Reservoir was more than 91 percent full with 675,870 acre feet of storage. Reservoir Inflow was 734.3 CFS and outflow was 920.3 CFS Jan. 15, according to the bureau.

Current water year (October-December) precipitation across Wyoming is nearly 100 percent of average, and December’s precipitation was nearly 140 percent of average, Fahey said.

Shoshone basin’s SWE was 119 percent and Big Horn’s was 109 percent on Jan. 12, according to the NRCS. The statewide snow water equivalent (SWE) average was 103 percent on Jan. 12, according to a 30-year average from 1981 to 2010 calculated by the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Mountain snowpack across Wyoming was 100 to 105 percent of normal by early January.

Snowpack water numbers and/or SWEs were the highest across basins west of the Continental Divide, varying between 115 to 140 percent of median. SWEs across basins east of the Continental Divide varied from 85 to 110 percent of median, Fahey said.

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