From The Denver Post (Chris Bianchi):
Over the last two weeks, Colorado has lost nearly half of its snowpack, an unusually rapid decline owing to a recent run of warm temperatures and a chilly start to April. After snow and record-breaking cold temperatures kept snowpack levels relatively steady through the first part of April (including multiple rounds of Front Range snowfall), the weather pattern changed quickly.
By the latter half of April, record highs were being set across wide swaths of Colorado.
On April 19th, almost all of Colorado’s snowpack was still intact, based on statewide averaged data from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). That had statewide snowpack slightly above average, or at about the 60th percentile of the 30-year climatological average.
Now, less than three weeks later, about 40 percent of Colorado’s snowpack had already melted away. As of Thursday, NRCS data had statewide snowpack only at the 25th percentile of the 30-year average.
While spring is snowmelt season, there’s little question that the mountains have lost their snow especially quickly this spring.
“What is unusual about this (season) is it’s come out pretty quick here. We’ve lost a lot of snowpack,” said David Barjenbruch, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Boulder.
While the quick snowmelt will fill up reservoirs earlier than usual, it could also dry out ground more quickly…
Statewide, Colorado finished with a slightly above average season in terms of snowpack. The snowpack, though, was generally higher in the northern half of the state. Last summer was quite dry across southern Colorado, where drought conditions are continuing to grow.