Starting from behind with a weak lineup
Throughout the Colorado River basin, the streamflow predictions published by water forecasting agencies for the month of April attract extra interest, since they come at a time when the high-country snowpack isn’t likely to get bigger and river levels begin to rise with warming temperatures.
This year, the snowpack has been hovering below normal for most of the winter and is losing ground quickly in the early weeks of April. The benefit to rivers from that snowpack will be further diminished by historically dry soils, which scientists predict will absorb 15%-20% more than under normal conditions, Water Desk Editor Heather Sackett reports in our story published Friday morning. That soil-moisture deficit dates back to last year, and continued to get worse through a dry summer and fall.
Read Sackett’s story to learn more about what this means for local water managers, in particular the folks who decide how much water to let out of Ruedi Reservoir to make room for the runoff. Every year, officials with the Bureau of Reclamation attempt the delicate maneuver of releasing just enough so that the critical bucket fills to its maximum capacity.
Tracking the Curve, our COVID-19 data project focusing on Pitkin, Eagle and Garfield counties, continued to deliver critical information this week for anyone living between Aspen, Rifle and Vail. Among the project’s key features, you can see what the incidence rate is doing in each county individually, as well as statewide. Our data reporter Laurine Lassalle updates the post each weeknight with the latest data and a roundup of what’s relevant in the news about COVID-19. While case numbers are trending down in Pitkin County, public health officials caution that declining visitation with the end of ski-season a big factor, while case counts are trending back up statewide and across the county.
— Curtis Wackerle, editor
Drought and dry soils again will diminish Colorado’s spring runoff
April 9, 2021 | Heather Sackett
According to NRCS models, streamflow for the Roaring Fork River, measured at its confluence with the Colorado River in Glenwood Springs, will be 70% of average. Read more
Tracking the Curve
April 9, 2021 | Laurine Lasalle
“We’re seeing some good news right now, that our incidence rate is declining,” Pitkin County epidemiologist Josh Vance said this week. “But we know that across the country and across the state, rates are going back up.” Read more
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