Friday, April 26, 2013

SNOTEL Water Update for the Western U.S.

The following map is prepared weekly by the USDA/NRCS National Water and Climate Center. The weekly snowpack and drought update report (which is the source of this map) is found at the following address:

The map below shows the Water Year, October 1, 2012 to date (April 25, 2013) precipitation as a % of normal.  The water amount is determined from the SNOTEL surveys done throughout the mountainous western U.S.

The recent snowfalls and rainfalls in the western U.S. have greatly improved conditions for much of Colorado and almost all of Wyoming. Wyoming has (since October 1, 2012) from  66% to 102% of normal precipitation and Colorado for the same time period currently has 69% to 91% of normal precipitation These two states are critically important since they send the melt water from the spring melt in the mountains into the South Platte and the North Platte Rivers in Nebraska.  This water is important in Nebraska since it is used for agriculture, recreation and several power plants.

Lake McConaughy is one of the largest reservoir in Nebraska and is fed by the North Platte River coming out of Wyoming.  It currently (as of April 27, 2013) has a volume of 1,093,600 acre feet which is at 63.5% of capacity. Link to Lake McConaughy Water Data.

A year ago on this date Lake McConaughy had a volume of 1,432,800 acre feet or 82.4% of capacity.

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