Back Issue Content: 2019

2019

COURTESY NRCS

The West may experience a lengthy runoff in 2019

While it's always tricky making May or June runoff predictions in March, Snotel data from around the West indicates that snowpack levels, especially in Southern Colorado, Southern Utah, and parts of California's Central Sierras, are poised in 2019 to create high flows or a long runoff season or both. Snotels—short for snow telemetry—are automated devices set up by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) at various locations and elevations throughout 11 western states to assist water managers in making predictions about runoff, reservoir levels, and potential flooding. There are currently more than 700 Snotel sites scattered across mostly high-alpine watersheds. If you've been on a high-elevation hike and seen what looks like an oversized pillow off in the woods—that's a Snotel. These pillows have pressure sensors; they don't really measure snow as much as they measure water content in the snow.

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