Water in the West: Snow news may not be good news

NASA’s Terra satellite

By Tom Yulsman | Discovery.com

As the animation of satellite images above shows, this past winter has brought desperately needed snowfall to a large portion of the American West.

It consists of images captured by NASA’s Terra satellite, centered on the Colorado Rockies — one on April 18 of last year, and the other this past April 19th. All that extra white stuff tells the tale better than any statistics.

And looks aren’t deceiving. For Colorado as a whole, snowpack looks to be about the third highest on record.

In fact, many measuring sites in Colorado experienced their wettest spring on record, according to Paul Miller, a hydrologist for the Colorado River Basin Forecast Center. Temperatures also were relatively cool, limiting the kind of premature snowmelt that has been seen with increasing frequency in recent years.

The result: “It has just been a very beneficial spring,” Miller says.

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