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Snowpack in the upper Colorado River basin has reached its annual average with more winter to go

Snow totals in the upper Colorado River basin have already reached their average annual peak much earlier than normal.

Mountain snow turns into the Colorado River, which supplies water to 40 million people throughout the Southwest.

Right now, it’s still piling up, past the usual amount that’s on the ground when it starts to melt off in the Spring. Normally, that total isn’t reached until early April.

Every high-altitude region of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming is above average for this time of year.

Climate scientists say this wet winter is likely to help prop up depleted reservoirs, but won’t be enough to turn around a decades-long megadrought. The Southwest would need five or six consecutive wet winters to chip away at the supply-demand imbalance that is straining the region’s water supply.