(AP) — Storms brought deep snow to the mountains that feed the vital Colorado River this season, but the dried-out landscape will soak up some of it before it can reach the river.
Federal data shows the snowpack in the vast Upper Colorado River Basin peaked at about 94 percent of average. Forecasters say the snowmelt that makes it into the river and then into Lake Powell in Utah is expected to reach only 74 percent of average because the dry soil will absorb so much of it.
Lake Powell is the second-largest reservoir in the nation. It helps regulate and distribute Colorado River water.
The river serves about 40 million people and 6,300 square miles of farmland in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. Mexico also is entitled to a share.