Did ya'll hit some sort of time warp? - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 05-21-2009   #1
 
Join Date: May 2006
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Did ya'll hit some sort of time warp?

Cause I just looked at the gauges and I would swear it was late June down there!

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Old 05-21-2009   #2
 
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Dust in the snow pack seems to have accelerated run off by 3 weeks. Lets hope it doesn't come crashing back down too quickly; seems kind of inevitable.
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Old 05-21-2009   #3
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Yep Dust absorbing heat.
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Old 05-21-2009   #4
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You know, I've looking at my notes from last year.....and for us this has kind of been the norm the past few years. Our peak this year (at this point) was on the 19th- Tuesday- and last year it was on May 22nd. The next nine years before that, from 1999 thru 2007, the peak was in May seven out of those nine years, with only 2002 and 2004 having a peak in June. Our peak (the gunny @ gunny):

1999 - May 24 - 2,800
2000 - May 30 - 2520
2001 - May 17 - 1990
2002 - June 01 - 875 [after diversions]
2003 - May 30 - 2510
2004 - June 07 - 1870
2005 - May 25 - 3570
2006 - May 23 - 3310
2007 - May 20 - 1910
2008 - May 22 - 5260

So as you can see, even the two June years were still early June, and much closer to May. The average seems to be around the 22nd or 23rd of May, which we were only off by a few days this year, so even though it feels early, for these parts its actually pretty normal. The big difference I think this year is the high altitude stuff is going much faster than anticipated. Thats why here we're seeing runs like the Lake Fork and the Taylor peaking a little earlier than they normally would, rather than being behind the Gunny most years. But overall I would guess that we aren't more than a couple of weeks ahead, and not really something overly drastic. If this had happened in late April I would be a little more upset!
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Old 05-21-2009   #5
 
Salida, Colorado
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get back to work ooops.... nothing to see down here.
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Old 05-21-2009   #6
 
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I don't know about the Gunny. But I did a little research on my local creek, Clear Creek and pulled average low flow start of season above 200 CFS, Average Peak, and average last day of season for 10 year periods for the 40 years of record. The last 10 year average start, peak, and end date was 2 weeks earlier than the preceding 3 decades. Pretty compelling evidence of a warming trend, get used to it boys.
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Old 05-21-2009   #7
 
Colorado Springs, Colorado
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Yeti,

Great info! Thanks for throwing that out there. I was wondering myself how this was comparing to previous years. I was in BV this past weekend and the snow was fading fast in the peaks. I fear the peak flow is going to come and disappear quickly.
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Old 05-21-2009   #8
 
Longmont, Colorado
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Make sure your data isn't affected by diversions or other “man made” influences. Basically, if you gage is down stream of a lake addition or diversion then you can’t really use it for much.
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Old 05-21-2009   #9
 
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IDK, Yeti. Gunny is like the coldest spot in Colorado so I could see your runoff times staying flat. Then late May, early June is typical for the peak. What we should see is shorter times of peak flow as the runoff melts faster. That would equate to higher peaks but all the straws in the basins just SUCK!

I was a little disappointed last year that the peak on the Ark was not higher..........
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Old 05-21-2009   #10
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The numbers I posted, and my opinions were based and directed solely at the Gunnison River, at Gunnison, and not for anywhere else. Just wanted to bring that up.

GP- There really isn't a whole lot of diversions on the Gunny aside from some smaller irrigation ditches. I don't believe the collective total of them would exceed 500 or 600 cfs. There is a large ditch on the East between CB South and Almont that takes around that same amount, but ultimately our drainage is spared from large scale diversions and thus we see a lot of our true flow.

Snowhere- After looking at the history for a few other gauges (Lake Fork, Taylor @ Taylor Park, Slate, others), I can definitely see the early trend this year for runs that are more high-altitude melt driven, such as the ones above. Those kind of runs tend to peak a little later, in mid to late June, but this year we are already seeing the high water. So I think its more of a high altitude thing than a basin wide deal.
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