Snowpack that feeds Colorado River far below normal

Hydrologists estimate winter precipitation will be about 50 percent of average.

The snowpack that supplies water for the Colorado River was 20 percent lower than average in December, according to the National Weather Service’s Colorado Basin River Forecast Center.

Looking at the current snowpack, and the long-term forecast, the National Weather Service is predicting that this year’s spring runoff for the Colorado River will be just 50 percent of average.

The Colorado River is a critical water source for Utah, Colorado, Arizona, California, Nevada, and New Mexico.

The western United States has been in a prolonged drought since 2000. Only three years out of the 17 have produced precipitation levels above average.

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