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River Predictions for Spring 2016

This time of year we keep an eye on the SNOTEL Snow Water Equivalent graphs for Colorado and Wyoming. Colorado because the headwaters of the Colorado River is in the Rockies and Wyoming because the Headwaters of the Green River are in the Wind River Range. Of course, there are tributaries that start in Utah that we look at, too. Snow Water Equivalent is different than snowpack… these charts actually look at how wet the snow is as opposed to how deep it is. We LOVE wet snow!

Here’s what they are telling us now!

Colorado River: Reporting in at 115% of normal, there is a lot of water in that snow! If it all comes down at once, which would happen if we warm up really quickly, then we could be looking at a river that breeches its banks. Our ideal would be for it to snow at least one more time up there and then to have a Spring that warms up slowly into the Summer for a very long high water season (like we had in 2011).

Green River: It’s not looking too shabby up in Wyoming either with an average of 99% of normal. Of course, the Green River is dam released at the Flaming Gorge Dam, but they usually do a pretty good job of emulating what the natural flows would be if there weren’t a big concrete wall in the way.

Utah Tributaries: All basins are reporting in at close to or over 100% of normal. They will definitely be adding their share of runoff to the Colorado and Green Rivers!

It is still very, very early to be making any kind of predictions about what the river will look like this season, but it is not too early to dream about High Water! In fact… I think I need a river trip NOW!

Hey… I mentioned 2011… here is a high water video from that year!