Flood Potential Outlook
Issued by NWS Pueblo, CO

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Water Supply Outlook
National Weather Service Pueblo CO
402 PM MST Wed Mar 7, 2018

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

February finally brought some precipitation to the region and
temperatures moderated somewhat everywhere but Alamosa.
Precipitation for the month was 123 percent of average in the
mountains of the upper Rio Grande basin. It was only 90 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 64 percent of normal.  In the Rio Grande they have rebounded
somewhat but remain well below normal at 55 percent of normal.
Below-normal runoff is forecast across southeast and south central
Colorado

As of March 1, snowpack in the Upper Rio Grande basin of south
central Colorado was at 55 percent of normal.  Snow pack values for
the sub-basins of the Rio Grande are uniformly very low, ranging
from 43 percent to 67 percent of median values.

The March 1 snowpack in the Arkansas River basin was at 64
percent of median overall.  The greatest snowpack percentages
favored the extreme headwaters of the Arkansas mainstem.  There, in
the upper Arkansas, snowpack is 84% 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 37 percent of median
snowpack. Stations in the Purgatoire River basin are at 29 percent
of median values.

There is some good news to report with regard to water supply. At
the end of February, overall reservoir storage was well-above
average in the Arkansas and Rio Grande drainages.  Storage in the
Rio Grande basin was at 121 percent of average overall compared
to 91 percent of average last year at the same time.  Overall
storage in the Arkansas basin was at 145 percent of average,
compared to 103 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             60            Apr-Jul
  Wagon Wheel Gap                60            Apr-Sep
  Near Del Norte                 60            Apr-Sep
South Fork Rio Grande River
  South Fork                     58           Apr-Sep
Saguache Creek
  Near Saguache                  66           Apr-Sep
Alamosa Creek
  Terrace Reservoir Inflow       62            Apr-Sep
La Jara Creek
  Near Capulin                   56            Mar-Jul
Trinchera Creek
  Above Turners Ranch            35            Apr-Sep
Conejos River
  Platoro Reservoir Inflow       68            Apr-Sep
  Near Mogote                    63            Apr-Sep
Culebra Creek
  San Luis                       30            Apr-Sep
San Antonia River
  Ortiz                          31            Apr-Sep
Los Pinos
  Ortiz                          48            Apr-Sep

For the Arkansas basin, streamflow volumes for the upcoming runoff
season are generally forecast to be well-below average. Grape Creek
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                        76            Apr-Sep
  Salida                         75            Apr-Sep
  Canon City                     73            Apr-Sep
  Above Pueblo                   68            Apr-Sep
Chalk Creek
  Near Nathrop                   69            Apr-Sep
Grape Creek
  Near Westcliffe                44            Apr-Sep
Huerfano River
  Near Redwing                   43            Apr-Sep
Cucharas River
  Near La Veta                   36            Apr-Sep
Purgatoire River
  Trinidad                       31            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                     74            Apr-Sep
Purgatoire River
  Las Animas                     44            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 third of six scheduled outlooks for the 2018
runoff season.

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.  The next outlook
will be issued during the first part of April.

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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