Thing Of The Past : “too much snow in the Rockies”

April 10, 2011

It’s rare to see millions of gallons of water spilling out of a reservoir, especially in the West, where water is more precious than gold.

But the water was spilling from Pathfinder Reservoir, 45 miles southwest of Casper, Wyo., in June, because it couldn’t hold any more water.

The last time that happened was in 1984.

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which controls nine reservoirs in the North Platte River Basin, predicts it will happen again this summer.

The reason: too much snow in the Rockies. When it melts in late spring and early summer, reservoirs will be bursting at the seams.

“Wyoming is loaded with water. They have a lot of snowpack,” said Cory Steinke, civil engineer with the Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District based in Holdrege.

About stevengoddard

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7 Responses to Thing Of The Past : “too much snow in the Rockies”

  1. Andy Weiss says:

    Too much of a good thing, but totally consistent with a warming/cooling planet

  2. Mike Davis says:

    WOW! Such a long term trend! As bad or worse than 1984! I can not find words to describe the situation. The closest that comes to mind is “NORMAL”!

  3. mkelly says:

    I vacationed in Wyoming 2009 during July. On a visit to the hot springs at Thermopolis it was noted that the boat launch in the park was under water. It was not usual for this to happen but people there said they had gotten lots of rain/snow and the water level had been high for the year.

  4. EJ says:

    This year could be worse for flooding as the snowpack is 163% compared to 107% last year and this year Pathfinder is 90% capacity versus 60% last year. It will depend on the temperatures ahead.

  5. orson2 says:

    Extremes of water, drought, temperature, and altitude are rather the norm for the mountain West. Anyone who expects otherwise simply doesn’t know the lay of the land, its diversity, or past.

  6. M. Goad says:

    We camped at Pathfinder in July last year. The North Platte River was flooding downstream, but the overflow was significantly less than the picture above.

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