Snowpack news (% of normal): Upper Colorado = 120; South Platte = 116; Arkansas = 143; Upper Rio Grande = 145; Gunnison = 139; Yampa & White = 123; San Miguel/Dolores/Animas/San Juan = 141

Statewide SWE as a percent of normal December 7, 2013
Statewide SWE as a percent of normal December 7, 2013

From the Fort Collins Coloradoan (Ryan Maye Handy):

…for meteorologists, climatologists and water district officials, it’s too early to celebrate an already above-average snowpack, or to anticipate reaping the benefits when spring runoff hits.

“Early snow is better than no snow,” said Brian Werner, spokesman for the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District. “We don’t put a lot of emphasis on the early numbers before you get us into February and March.”

Still, the early snowpack numbers for the hills west of Fort Collins look good; levels at two crucial Fort Collins reservoirs, Joe Wright and Deadman Lake, are above average. Averages are measured by snow water equivalents — essentially, a sample of snow that is then melted and measured. At Joe Wright Reservoir, snowpack is 13 percent above average for this time of year, and the snow water equivalent is at 4.5 inches. Deadman Lake snowpack levels are 39 percent above average, with a snow water equivalent of 7.1 inches, according to the National Weather Service…

Until September, when catastrophic floods hit the Front Range, most of Colorado was in some stage of moderate to extreme drought. Even with the heavy snows, it took up to a foot of rain in most places to banish the drought completely in northern and central Colorado.

“September has given us such a shot in the arm that we will end up, in the 2013 calendar year, at least a couple of inches above the long-term (precipitation levels),” said Nolan Doesken, director of the Colorado Climate Center at Colorado State University.

Much of the glut of September rain is still in the ground, and has not yet been depleted by streams, Doesken said. The Cache la Poudre River Basin, the watershed that feeds Fort Collins, has likely retained a lot of moisture after the September floods.

“Our basin has a lot of water in the soils as well as a good start to the snowpack,” Doesken said.

From Transworld.net (Gerhard Gross):

A powerful and well-timed winter storm swept across the western U.S. Tuesday and Wednesday, touching each one of Vail Resorts’ mountains and leaving up to 14 inches of new snow in its wake.

From The Aspen Times (Andre Salvail):

Despite some decent helpings of early snowfall this autumn, what locals and visitors had been hoping for finally came ­— an estimated 14-inch dumping of powder atop Aspen Mountain and 12 inches on Snowmass ski area late Tuesday and much of Wednesday.

In fact, Mother Nature was generous throughout the Roaring Fork Valley, dropping about 11 inches in the city of Aspen, 9 or 10 inches in the Basalt area and a similar amount in Glenwood Springs. The estimates from each area vary, depending on the source and the precise location…

The next significant snowfall event is not expected until Saturday, Boudreau said. It’s not predicted to have quite the same impact as the Tuesday-Wednesday storm, but could bring 3 to 5 inches on Saturday and maybe more on Sunday, according to Cory Gates, also of http://aspenweather.net.

From The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel:

Weather-watchers reported .54 inches of precipitation on Wednesday — in the form of 5.9 inches of snowfall recorded. That bested precipitation and snowfall totals for the day — .35 in precipitation in 1944 and 3.7 inches of snow recorded in 1972.

Storm snowfall totals from across the region revealed the real impact the storm had in multiple spots.

In Garfield County, 30 inches of snow were measured at Douglas Pass over the course of the storm, and 17 inches of snow were recorded in New Castle.

In Delta County, 8 inches fell in Paonia and 5 inches were recorded in Hotchkiss.

The measurements were similarly mixed across Mesa County.

A measuring site at the Skyway on Grand Mesa tallied 10.5 inches of snow, while 9 inches were recorded on the Redlands and 7 inches on Glade Park, according to weather service data.

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