Snowpack news

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From the Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka): “Readings from the Colorado Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network showed that the storm left anywhere from 0.25 to 1 inch of precipitation as of Friday morning, providing more moisture than most places have seen in months. The network includes spotters in most counties in the Arkansas River basin and is coordinated by Colorado State University. In Otero County, up to 1 inch of precipitation was recorded, the highest reading in the area. Readings in Prowers and Bent counties, where the storm was still centered Friday morning, were 0.3-0.9 inches. In the Upper Arkansas area, there were readings of anywhere from 0.5 to 0.75 inches of precipitation in Chaffee and Fremont counties. Lake County reports were less than 0.2 of an inch, however. Pueblo County received between 0.23 and 0.4 of an inch, which is double the amount recorded for the year to date prior to the storm. Readings in Las Animas and Huerfano counties were 0.4 to 0.75 inches.

“The storm deposited about 6 inches to 1 foot of new snow in the mountains, adding less than an inch of snow water equivalent at most sites that affect the Arkansas River, either in the basin or in the Roaring Fork basin, where water is imported to the Arkansas basin. Snowpack ranges from 2 feet at lower elevations to 5-6 feet above 10,000 feet. Snow water equivalent ranges are from 5 to 18 inches at the sites monitored by the Natural Resources Conservation Service.”

From the Valley Courier (Ruth Heide): “Preliminary snowfall statistics from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Climatic Data Center showed reports of 3-5 inches in parts of Alamosa County and as much as 7 inches in neighboring Rio Grande County. Colorado Ski Country USA’s 22 member resorts experienced double-digit accumulation, with many resorts reporting over one foot of new snow within a 24-hour period from Thursday to Friday. The snowstorm left 28 inches at Wolf Creek. The new snow at Wolf Creek brings that mountain up to nearly 400 inches of snow for the season. Wolf Creek hosts a fun race today, March 28. Monarch Ski Area reported 15 inches from this storm bringing its year to date total to 287.5 inches…

“The spring storm also bolstered the snowpack in the Rio Grande Basin. Previous to the snowstorm, the Upper Rio Grande Basin snowpack had dropped to 94 percent of average according to Colorado Division of Water Resources Acting Division Engineer for Division III Craig Cotten. The last few days brought the basinwide snowpack up to 99 percent of average, he added. The latest readings were between 12 and 6 a.m. on Friday, so the snowpack may have actually hit 100 percent of average. ‘It helped some,’ Cotten said. ‘Every little bit helps.'[…]

“Cotten said many of the SNOTEL sites dropped below 100 percent, but the sites farther south on the Conejos River are showing the highest readings with the highest at the Cumbres Trestle sitting at 125 percent of average. ‘So the Conejos is looking fairly good, and overall we are looking to be in decent shape,’ Cotten said.”

From “Snow fell on the eastern plains, already socked with 8 to 12 inches, with the town of Yuma reporting 6 additional inches Friday. Winds pushed snow into drifts of more than 5 feet deep. By late Friday, the National Weather Service had dropped blizzard warnings for all but a portion of far southeastern Colorado, where total snowfall could reach 2 feet with wind gusts of 55 mph…

“The storm left about 20 inches of snow in the Rocky Mountains northwest of Denver and about 18 inches in the unincorporated community of Gothic, near Crested Butte, or about 120 miles southwest of Denver. Several Colorado ski resorts touted their bonanza of fresh snow.
The storm also brought Colorado’s snowpack to 98 percent of the 30-year average. The snowpack is a closely watched indicator of how much water will be available for cities, farms and ranches when spring runoff begins.”

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