November 22, 2009--Colorado River drops to a record-low flow (Summit Daily News)

The latest predictions for a mid-winter dry spell may cause some headaches for Colorado water managers as they try to juggle supplies to maintain stream flows and fill reservoirs. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is forecasting that a strong El Niño may lead to dry conditions in the state's northern and central mountains at least until March, based on historic patterns associated with above-normal sea surface temperatures in the eastern Pacific. Stream flows in Summit County are not too far off seasonal norms, but the Colorado River at Kremmling recently experienced an all-time record low flow for that date, according to local water commissioner Scott Hummer. The Colorado was only flowing at 280 cubic feet per second on Nov. 16, and flows farther downstream were also well below average, Hummer said. The previous minimum for the date was 330 cfs in 1978. “I can't find a rhyme or reason as to why we're starting to see these low flows so early in the season,” Hummer said. Statewide, and in the Blue River Basin, the snowpack is at 79 percent of average. Only the Arkansas (at 99 percent) and the South Platte (100 percent) have an average snowpack for the date, he said.

To view the full article, visit the Summit Daily News. For a copy of the original article contact the WIP at (970) 247-1302 or stop by the office at 841 East Second Avenue in Durango.