March storms bring Colorado snowpack to near average

Southern mountains get huge snowpack boost

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Early March storms helped bring the Colorado snowpack to near normal.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Colorado’s statewide snowpack continues to track near average for the winter, as two weeks of wet weather helped especially to bolster water supplies in the southern mountains.

But despite substantial accumulations statewide, the snowpack is still below average, at 87 percent of normal as of March 1. SNOTEL data shows that, during the nine-day period of February 20 through March 1, the state received 2.0 inches of snow water equivalent, 181 percent of the normal for that period.

Preliminary numbers from early March show an additional 7 percent gain between March 1 and March 5 — but with only 20 percent of the mountain snowpack accumulation season remaining, time is dwindling to close the gap and reach typical statewide peak snowpack levels. Continue reading

Morning photo: Sunday set

Cool in Colorado …


FRISCO — Just a short Sunday set featuring some “leftover” images from the past couple of weeks, including the strange solstice glow of the low winter sun and a stunning sunrise over the Blue River Valley. Follow our Instagram feed for daily updates, and visit the online Summit Voice gallery at Fine Art America to see more Summit County nature and landscape images.

Environment: Study tracks soot pollution in snow

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Pure white? Not always.

Staff Report

FRISCO— From a distance, a freshly fallen blanket of snow looks pure white, but there’s more than meets the eye. Mixed in with the reflective flakes are tiny, dark particles of pollution. University of Washington scientists recently studied that pollution to see if they could find regional or seasonal patterns that might affect melting and the overall climate.

The study shows that North American snow away from cities is similar to Arctic snow in many places, with more pollution in the U.S. Great Plains. The findings also also show that agricultural practices, not just smokestacks and tailpipes, may have a big impact on snow purity. Continue reading

Climate: Colorado snowpack shows surplus up north, continued deficits in southern mountains

Reservoir storage near average

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For the first three months of the current water year (starting Oct. 1, 2014) precipitation has been below average across large parts of the West, with just a few pockets of above average snow.

Staff Report

FRISCO —Colorado’s statewide snowpack is close to average for this time of year, federal water-watchers said this week, releasing results of the first monthly snow survey of the year.

Across the state, snowpack was at 99 percent of average for the date, with a surplus (114 percent) in the Colorado River Basin, but deficits in the south-central and southwestern mountains, which are facing their fifth straight year of below average snowpack and streamflows. Continue reading

Morning photo: Deep winter

Mountains aglow …

FRISCO — There’s nothing better than a mountain sunrise or sunset on a crisp winter day, with deep snow all around to help diffuse the light and add sparkle to the air. For this set, I pulled a handful of images from the archives going back just a few weeks, starting around the time of the winter solstice. Follow our Instagram feed for daily updates, and visit the online Summit Voice gallery at Fine Art America to see more Summit County nature and landscape images.

Colorado: Avalanche kills climber on Mt. Kelso

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A deadly Dec. 31 avalanche in Colorado. Photo courtesy CAIC.

New Year’s Eve accident marks first avalanche death of the season

Staff Report

FRISCO — A hiker trying to climb one of Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks died in an avalanche on the last day of 2014. The accident happend on the Kelso Ridge approach to Torreys Peak, a 14er along the Continental Divide between Summit and Clear Creek counties.

According to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, two climbers met at the base of Steven’s Gulch Road, near the Bakerville exit along I-70 and joined with a third climber for the planned ascent. The trio traveled on snowshoes up Steven’s Gulch, then used an an existing skin track to traverse across several avalanche paths on the east side of Mt. Kelso. Continue reading

Morning photo: Best of spring 2014

Snowy days …


FRISCO —A few more of our favorite images from 2014, focusing on late winter and early spring, when the deepest snowpack of the years begins its inexorable meltdown. And while most people are enjoying daffodils and tulips, Summit County, at 9,000 feet, usually sees at least one or two snowstorms during the late spring, even down to the valley elevations. Follow our Instagram feed for daily updates, and visit the online Summit Voice gallery at Fine Art America to see more Summit County nature and landscape images.

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