Weather Blog

Weather Blog

Date: 3/6/2017

Title: Reservoir Storage in the West

The news is mostly good for many reservoir storage areas of the far west with the wet spring season still to come. While there are some areas that are still suffering from low reservoir storage, many areas have seen some big improvements with many weeks left of opportunity for more mountain snow to come.

The graph below shows reservoir storage relative to normal across the western states as of Feb. 1. The blue bars represent above normal storage with red showing below normal reservoir storage.

California has made an incredible comeback over the past six months with above normal reservoir storage. Colorado and Wyoming continue to do well. Another state that has experienced a big comeback is Idaho. While just shy of reaching normal on Feb. 1, there is a good chance that Idaho reservoir storage by the end of the snowpack season could very well be at or above normal. Utah and Nevada have seen big increases as well.

New Mexico and Washington state have the biggest deficits, however, Washington may have a good spring precipitation pattern to help increase reservoir storage. New Mexico could have more of an issue with reservoir storage by spring time as current weather patterns will favor the Pacific Northwest, West Coast and Northern Rockies in regards to enhanced precipitation this spring.

The areas showing the best increases in reservoir storage also show the best snowpack conditions. The chart below shows snowpack levels relative to normal as of March 5.

Blue, green and purple show snowpack levels at 90% or higher relative to normal levels as of March 5.


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Mark Spurgin
Nebraska Rancher