Roaring Fork River forecasted to have runoff volume 110% to 148% of average |

Roaring Fork River forecasted to have runoff volume 110% to 148% of average

Staff report
Snow engulfs the Independence ghost town on April 25.
Scott Condon/The Aspen Times

The Roaring Fork River is among numerous streams in Colorado that are expected to experience above-average runoff this spring and summer, the Natural Resources Conservation Service said Tuesday in its May snowpack report.

Streams in the Colorado River Basin, which includes the Roaring Fork, are forecast to have volumes 110% to 148% of average for May through July, the report said.

The snowpack in various locations in the Roaring Fork Basin remains well above average. The snow telemetry site in the headwaters of the Roaring Fork River east of Aspen showed a snowpack at 134% of median on May 1. Sites in the upper Fryingpan Valley were more than 160% of median. In the Crystal River Valley, Schofield Pass was at 154% of median while McClure Pass was at 139%.

“Most of the major river basins reached maximum snowpack levels for 2019 during the first half of April, but the latest storm (in late April) was instrumental in delaying the increasingly rapid snow melt,” the conservation service report said.

How the spring unfolds will determine if flooding is an issue. Hot weather for a sustained time could create problems, the report indicated.

“Accelerated melt of the above-normal snowpack could lead to a greater potential for runoff to overwhelm the state’s streams and overtop their banks, while moderate snowmelt will be more likely to provide a consistent water supply later into the summer,” it said.

The snowpack for the Roaring Fork basin overall was at 137% of median May 1, the report said. Last year at this time, it was just 67% of median.

The statewide snowpack was 123% on May 1.

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