Lake Mead’s decline may slow, thanks to winter’s wet start
LAS VEGAS — Hefty snowfalls from a series of atmospheric rivers have brought a slightly rosier outlook for the beleaguered Colorado River.
While not enough to fend off the falling water levels entirely, the snow that has dropped in recent weeks across the mountains that feed the river is expected to slow the decline at Lake Mead, according to the latest federal projections released last week. Forecasters now expect Lake Mead to finish this year around 1,027 feet elevation, about 19 feet lower than its current level. That’s about 7 feet higher than the 2023 end-of-year elevation in the bureau’s forecast from last month.
As for Lake Powell, the reservoir located on the Utah-Arizona border is now expected to finish 2023 at 3,543 feet, or 16 feet higher than last month’s forecast and about 19 feet higher than its current level.
While the projections have improved with the snowpack, the forecasted levels mean that Lake Mead would remain in shortage conditions for at least a third consecutive year.
“I think the big picture is that we’re dealing with some very long-term deficits along the Colorado River system,” said Steph McAfee, the state climatologist and a professor at the University of Nevada, Reno. “A good year is good news. And I don’t want to diminish that. But it’s not going to fix the problem.”
—Las Vegas Review-Journal
DHS sees huge drop in migrant arrivals at southern border
WASHINGTON — The Department of Homeland Security recorded a precipitous drop in encounters with migrants attempting to cross the U.S.- Mexico border illegally this month, the department said on Wednesday, putting January on track to see the lowest level of monthly border encounters since the beginning of the Biden administration.
The drop comes after migrant arrivals reached record levels for Joe Biden’s presidency in December.