FLOOD POTENTIAL IN THE LOWER COLORADO RIVER BASIN

The following are generalized discussions of the flood potential due to snowmelt in the Lower Colorado River drainage as of March 1, 1998. Discussions are segregated by state. It is important to understand that the potential for flooding may increase dramatically if snowmelt accelerates rapidly due to above normal temperatures or if significant rain events occur.

ARIZONA: The potential for snowmelt flooding in Arizona is somewhat greater than usual for this time of year but is still not high. Snow water equivalent values were much above median as of March 1 but flooding due solely to snowmelt is not expected because of low river levels and the large amount of storage capacity available in the reservoirs. Runoff volumes for March through May are forecast to be much above median on the Salt, Gila and Little Colorado rivers. No individual sites are forecast to exceed flood stage.

NEW MEXICO: The potential for snowmelt flooding on the upper Gila River and on the Little Colorado River drainage in New Mexico is currently greater than usual but is still not high. Snow water equivalent values were much above median as of March 1 and the March through May runoff volumes are forecast to be much above median but no individual sites are forecast to exceed flood stage.

 

UTAH:. A higher than usual snowmelt flood potential exists along the Virgin and Santa Clara rivers at this time. Snow water equivalent values were much above average as of March 1 but observed streamflow is much below average so far this water year and flooding due solely to snowmelt is not expected. Runoff volumes for April through July are forecast to be above average, with no individual sites currently forecast to exceed flood stage.