In the green today

JRJ

Member
slow down the snow dance for a day!
the snow in Palisade Colorado also is bring cold weather -- It will be a long night tonight for the 2022 Palisade Peach and Cherry crop
the snow part is great. Like you said its that arctic blast after the front moves through that is tough. Sad for those growers if they get hit hard, love those CO fruits. Even forecast lows to possible single digits here in parts of northern AZ tonight if the winds die down.
 

scubatim

Well-Known Member
Nope, and I getcha... this is a real snow, best in 45 days.
I'll be surprised if total CO isn't 100% plus in snow moisture after this storm.
Same with all the western slope basins, the ones that effect Powell.
I melted the 4" I had this morning in the rain gage = 0.5" SWE !!! Still coming down - but melting on the gravel and pavement - till 20 degrees nite!!
 

Wet1

Well-Known Member
Well, it's hard to tell at this point from the inflow/outflow data what we can really expect in the coming weeks. The average "hit bottom" date historically is April 22, but that date has a huge variation, and it's hard to draw conclusions from that date as to what might happen ahead. This year, with outflows being held back a bit compared to recent years, it might be that the turnaround date does come a bit early. Last year, it wasn't until late May. The year before, it was early May. Same with 2018. All three were bad runoff years. The trend, in general, for the "better than average" years is when the lake starts turning around by mid-April. That was the case for 2011, 2014 and 2019. But who knows?

I'd watch the inflows closely. Right now they are still hovering in the 6-8,000 cfs range. Historically on average, by early April those flows are closer to 10,000 cfs. Last year we were still in the 4-6,000 cfs range at this point, so I'm thinking we're going to do better than that. But actually, with the exception of the really wet years of 2011 and 2017, we're really in the same inflow ballpark on the date as almost every other year back to 2009. Let's look at the data in another week or two and reassess then.

Here's what I'm looking for--what is the first date that inflow hits 30,000 cfs? That's the marker of what kind of rise we can really expect. Most years (all but 11) have reached that milestone, and usually by the end of May. But if we don't hit that (as we didn't last year), it's a bad year. In a "slightly better than average" year where total annual inflow is in the 9-9.5 maf (like 2014-16), look for the 30K cfs inflow milestone to be reached in mid- to late May. And keep in mind that in an "average" year, that 30K cfs inflow is sustained for 38 days...

And then in the better years, we'll hit a 50K cfs milestone, usually in late May or early June. Historically, it's about a 50-50 chance in any given year of hitting 50k cfs...but when it does, it's always a sign of a good year. The last year that happened was in 2019, when runoff peaked at 78k cfs on June 18.

Again, it's still a little too early to tell what to expect...
I' have heard rumors that Flaming Gorge is going to draw down some to dump water to Powell but I haven't seen any confirmation of this and I'm not sure how much that would affect Powell's level as there is a pretty big disparity in size between the two.
 

Trix

Escalante-Class Member
Still bouncing around at the minimum, but not green. As stated at least a couple of times, average date of minimum is Apr 22 (I misstated it as Apr 4 somewhere).
 

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Wet1

Well-Known Member
Still bouncing around at the minimum, but not green. As stated at least a couple of times, average date of minimum is Apr 22 (I misstated it as Apr 4 somewhere).
Thanks, I hope you guys are right and it does come up enough for you all to make your summer plans happen.
 

Richard

Well-Known Member
I was wondering the same thing as Flowerbug -- JFR can anything be gleamed from the rivers running at 47% of average to what the future holds --- or are there way to many variables to make any reasonable prediction based on average water flow for this time year ?
 

JFRCalifornia

Escalante-Class Member
I was wondering the same thing as Flowerbug -- JFR can anything be gleamed from the rivers running at 47% of average to what the future holds --- or are there way to many variables to make any reasonable prediction based on average water flow for this time year ?
Well, I hesitate to make predictions because the variables are always hard to get a grasp on. But I'd watch the snowpack % more than the current river flow, because if all the water is still tied up in snow, then immediate river flow isn't that important. And right now, while the snowpack isn't overwhelming, it is still there. But also keep in mind that while 10,000 cfs is an improvement over recent weeks and months, it's only about 60% of the average on this date.

I tend to look at past years with similar flow characteristics to make predictions. Not a perfect method, but useful as a guide. And when the flow is around 10,000+/- cfs on April 24, you can say with certainty that this is much better than the worst years at Powell, including 1977, 1990, 2002, 2012, 2013, 2018, 2020 and 2021. Of course, that's damning by faint praise. Many (but not all) of the better years already have a flow over 20,000 cfs, such as in 2019. But you never know--in 1983, a mega-year if there ever was one, flow on April 24 was still only 18,000 cfs. It was a heavy snowpack and late melt that epic year.

But 10,000 cfs right now to me makes this year look a lot like 2015 or 2016. In 2015, it didn't start rising until about May 8, and came up about 25 feet by mid-July. Or it could be that 2016 is a slightly better fit. That year bottomed out around April 16 or so, slowly rose just a few feet until mid-May, when it began to really pick up as the snow melted. In all, it came up about 30 feet that year.

Do I really expect a 25-30 foot rise this spring? I want to believe that, especially with the planned increased releases from Flaming Gorge and decreased releases from Powell. But you never know. For now, I feel confident the lake can reach 3545 in the summer, but obviously hope for better. We'll know more as April turns to May, and we can better see what's happening with the remaining snowpack...
 

Richard

Well-Known Member
Well, I hesitate to make predictions because the variables are always hard to get a grasp on. But I'd watch the snowpack % more than the current river flow, because if all the water is still tied up in snow, then immediate river flow isn't that important. And right now, while the snowpack isn't overwhelming, it is still there. But also keep in mind that while 10,000 cfs is an improvement over recent weeks and months, it's only about 60% of the average on this date.

I tend to look at past years with similar flow characteristics to make predictions. Not a perfect method, but useful as a guide. And when the flow is around 10,000+/- cfs on April 24, you can say with certainty that this is much better than the worst years at Powell, including 1977, 1990, 2002, 2012, 2013, 2018, 2020 and 2021. Of course, that's damning by faint praise. Many (but not all) of the better years already have a flow over 20,000 cfs, such as in 2019. But you never know--in 1983, a mega-year if there ever was one, flow on April 24 was still only 18,000 cfs. It was a heavy snowpack and late melt that epic year.

But 10,000 cfs right now to me makes this year look a lot like 2015 or 2016. In 2015, it didn't start rising until about May 8, and came up about 25 feet by mid-July. Or it could be that 2016 is a slightly better fit. That year bottomed out around April 16 or so, slowly rose just a few feet until mid-May, when it began to really pick up as the snow melted. In all, it came up about 30 feet that year.

Do I really expect a 25-30 foot rise this spring? I want to believe that, especially with the planned increased releases from Flaming Gorge and decreased releases from Powell. But you never know. For now, I feel confident the lake can reach 3545 in the summer, but obviously hope for better. We'll know more as April turns to May, and we can better see what's happening with the remaining snowpack...
As I had expected -- a thorough analysis of my question - I think I can speak for others on WW that we so appreciate your insight and timely responses !
 
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