Have we seen the Peak? - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 06-14-2016   #1
 
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Have we seen the Peak?

Looks like everything from Clear Creek to the Poudre to the Eagle to the Roaring Fork and the Ark have all dropped off in the last 24 to 48 hours.

Given the weather predictions of near state wide sunny, high temperatures
for the next 3 to 4 days, I was guessing the peaks would be this weekend or early next week.

Any thoughts on this incredibly important topic?

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Old 06-14-2016   #2
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Though have not verified, from what I've heard lake Granby is getting close to full, so we could get some higher water on the upper Colorado potentially.
Get the feeling a lot of other stuff has peaked, or is close.
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Old 06-14-2016   #3
 
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It was either yesterday or maybe still this weekend. But I agree, an incredibly important topic.

And rumor has it that you should be starting the 2016 Swim thread.
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Old 06-14-2016   #4
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Upper C's on the rise again.
Last weekends spike was mostly from Green Mountain.
Our shuttle drivers say that both Granby and Shadow Mountain are looking really full, with still a good bit of snow on Trail Ridge.
Looks like the last couple days rise is from there (Windy Gap and the Fraser)

Doubt we'll see my original prediction of 7500 on the Upper C, but it's still not done yet.
4170 and rising!!

I feel ashamed to say I haven't gotten on the Poudre in the last 2 seasons. So sad....
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Old 06-14-2016   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceB View Post
It was either yesterday or maybe still this weekend. But I agree, an incredibly important topic.

And rumor has it that you should be starting the 2016 Swim thread.
In hindsight, the left side of Three Way at 5.35' was not the appropriate place to get lazy and miss a stroke.
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Old 06-15-2016   #6
 
Salida, Colorado
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There have been remarkably flat hydrographs over the last 2-3 weeks on Upper Colorado and Ark River Basins. The approaching heat wave should create a peak melt off from what remains above tree line this weekend. My recent Yampa road trip included driving a loop from Salida to Leadville, Steamboat, GJ, Gunnison and home again. The amount of snow that remains above treeline is enough that we should get a really good last blast of high water as summer hits this week. It won't be scary, but it sure will be fun.
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Old 06-15-2016   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoStep View Post
There have been remarkably flat hydrographs over the last 2-3 weeks on Upper Colorado and Ark River Basins. The approaching heat wave should create a peak melt off from what remains above tree line this weekend. My recent Yampa road trip included driving a loop from Salida to Leadville, Steamboat, GJ, Gunnison and home again. The amount of snow that remains above treeline is enough that we should get a really good last blast of high water as summer hits this week. It won't be scary, but it sure will be fun.
I agree, plus Twin Lakes is just about full and the BOR has started allowing native flows to pass through....however, it does appear that all free flowing tributaries are starting to drop off.

Evenings have still been quite cool for this time of year (41 this morning in BV), and I do think there is enough snow left up high that this upcoming stretch of hot weather should give it one last bump. I don't think it will go as high as it did on June 6th though...
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Old 06-16-2016   #8
 
Denver, Colorado
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My two cents...

Front range peaked this past weekend. Different basins peak at different times, and looks like the ark and Durango are past peak too. Yesterday was really hot, which got the high elevation snow to bump a bit more, but not enough to offset declines that are already headed down. I don't think we will see a bump up to a higher peak.

I've spent a fair bit of time correlating snowpack to runoff. My observation is that peak flow typically coincides with snotels going to 0 snowpack left. Snotels are in the 10,000-11,000ft range for the most part, and this is where the majority of the water is stored in watersheds (ie there is a reason they put them there, its the best predcitor elevation for runoff). Sure you still have snow in the 12000-14000 ft range right now, but the amount of acreage that has snow is way smaller than the 10000-11000 ft range.

I read a good study from CSU that did a very rigorous model of the cache la poudre basin, and the conclusion was the same... runoff correlates with snowpack in the 10000 ft range. If you are a snowpack data geek, this is good reading

http://dspace.library.colostate.edu/.../file_1/174779

When there is ample snow in the 10000 ft range, each warm day melts more snow and the rivers rise. You might see 1-2" of SWE come off the 10000 ft snotels each day. Once that goes to zero and summer heat sets in you still get the daily diurnal fluctuations from high elevation melt continuing, but the mid level snowpack that drives peak flows is gone, and so is the ability of the river to rise above peak without a rain event.
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Old 06-16-2016   #9
 
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deepsouth,

Thanks for the feedback, makes sense.
Was optimistically hoping for a bigger peak given the late start to runoff.
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