Flood Potential Outlook
Issued by NWS Pueblo, CO

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Water Supply Outlook
National Weather Service Pueblo CO
200 PM MDT Thu Apr 5, 2018

...Water Supply Outlook for South Central and Southeast Colorado as
of April 1, 2018...

March returned the area to warm and dry conditions. Precipitation
dropped back below normal and temperatures throughout the area were
considerably above average. Precipitation was only 46 percent of
average in the mountains of the upper Rio Grande basin. It was only
41 percent of average in the Arkansas basin.

Snowpack in the mountains reflects the limited precipitation seen
this water year. Snow-water equivalents (SWE) in the Arkansas basin
are at 55 percent of median.  In the Rio Grande they have rebounded
somewhat but remain well below normal at 48 percent of median.
Below-average runoff is forecast across southeast and south central
Colorado.

As of April 1, snowpack in the Upper Rio Grande basin of south
central Colorado was at 48 percent of median.  Snow pack values for
the sub-basins of the Rio Grande are uniformly very low, ranging
from 36 percent to 61 percent of median values.

The April 1 snowpack in the Arkansas River basin was at 55 percent
of median overall.  The greatest snowpack percentages favored the
extreme headwaters of the Arkansas mainstem.  There, in the upper
Arkansas, snowpack is 75% of median. Tributary basins farther south
are showing extremely poor snowpack compared to the median value. In
the middle portion of the basin, the combined Cucharas and Huerfano
basins reported 22 percent of median snowpack. Stations in the
Purgatoire River basin are only at 19 percent of median values.

There is some good news to report with regard to water supply. At
the end of March, overall reservoir storage was well-above
average in the Arkansas and Rio Grande drainages.  Storage in the
Rio Grande basin was at 119 percent of average overall compared
to 99 percent of average last year at the same time.  Overall
storage in the Arkansas basin was at 131 percent of average,
compared to 101 percent of average at the same time last year.

For the Rio Grande basin, streamflow volumes for the upcoming runoff
season are forecast to be well-below average in all of the basin.
Following are the latest available streamflow forecasts for selected
locations in the Rio Grande basin assuming normal precipitation for
the remainder of the snow season:

Location                   % of Average     Runoff Period

 Rio Grande River
  Thirty Mile Bridge             50            Apr-Jul
  Wagon Wheel Gap                51            Apr-Sep
  Near Del Norte                 50            Apr-Sep
South Fork Rio Grande River
  South Fork                     65           Apr-Sep
Saguache Creek
  Near Saguache                  51           Apr-Sep
Alamosa Creek
  Terrace Reservoir Inflow       35            Apr-Sep
La Jara Creek
  Near Capulin                   49            Mar-Jul
Trinchera Creek
  Above Turners Ranch            29            Apr-Sep
Conejos River
  Platoro Reservoir Inflow       36            Apr-Sep
  Near Mogote                    53            Apr-Sep
Culebra Creek
  San Luis                       22            Apr-Sep
San Antonia River
  Ortiz                          22            Apr-Sep
Los Pinos
  Ortiz                          40            Apr-Sep

For the Arkansas basin, streamflow volumes for the upcoming runoff
season are generally forecast to be well-below average. Following
are the latest available streamflow forecasts for selected
locations in the Arkansas basin assuming normal precipitation for
the remainder of the snow season:

Location                   % of Average     Runoff Period

Arkansas River
  Granite                        74            Apr-Sep
  Salida                         71            Apr-Sep
  Canon City                     69            Apr-Sep
  Above Pueblo                   66            Apr-Sep
Chalk Creek
  Near Nathrop                   65            Apr-Sep
Grape Creek
  Near Westcliffe                31            Apr-Sep
Huerfano River
  Near Redwing                   43            Apr-Sep
Cucharas River
  Near La Veta                   32            Apr-Sep
Purgatoire River
  Trinidad                       26            Apr-Sep

These forecasts reflect natural flow only.  Actual observed flow
will likely be affected by upstream water management.

The forecasts below are for 2 locations on the southeast Colorado
plains in the lower part of the Arkansas basin.  These forecasts
include projected upstream water management expected to impact
flows.

Arkansas River
  Las Animas                     71            Apr-Sep
Purgatoire River
  Las Animas                     40            Apr-Sep

This outlook is based on recent observations of snowpack and assumes
normal precipitation for the remainder of the snow season.  If the
actual observed precipitation deviates from normal, then the actual
observed runoff will likely be different than the forecast in this
outlook.  This is the fourth of six scheduled outlooks for the 2018
runoff season. The next outlook will be issued during the first part
of May.

Users of this product are encouraged to contact the National Weather
Service in Pueblo for continued updates on the water supply
situation.  Meteorological conditions could develop that would have
a significant impact on water supply forecasts.

For additional hydrologic products available on the world wide
web, visit the Pueblo National Weather Service web site at
weather.gov/pub.

Or visit the NRCS or the NWS River Forecast Centers that provide
our water supply forecasts at:

weather.gov/abrfc/water_supply

www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/wsf/index.html

This message is the result of collaboration between the National
Weather Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

AJA



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