Climate: Drought ‘donut’ circles Colorado

Forecast for wet spring helps ease concerns

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A drought donut around Colorado?

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Above-average reservoir storage and forecasts for a wet spring season could help keep Colorado out of drought trouble — even though statewide precipitation has been below average for the entire water year to-date, starting last October. As of mid-March, 40 percent of Colorado was classified as being in severe drought conditions, with only 25 percent of the state drought-free. Continue reading

Morning photo: Seasons come and go …

Springtime in the Rockies


FRISCO —More wandering along the edge of Dillon Reservoir during the ice-melt season yielded this series of images, all taken at different times of day. Can you guess which are morning shots and which are taken in the evening? By now, much of the ice has already melted away from the shore, but with a few days of cold weather in the forecast, I’m expecting some areas to refreeze, which means that we’ll have kind of an instant replay of the melt-off. That’s the way it goes here in the Colorado high country!

For daily photography updates, follow our Instagram feed, and visit our online gallery for an amazing selection of prints and greeting cards.

Morning Photo: Sunday set

Meltdown continues in Colorado

FRISCO — Watching the ice melt from along the shoreline of local ponds, creeks and reservoirs is one of the best things about early spring. It takes a while here in the high country to transition from winter to summer. Even once the snow melts, the plants don’t respond immediately, so even when the snow is gone, we don’t get a quick green-up. There’s likely still more snow ahead, and certainly, more sub-freezing nighttime temperatures, so the wildflowers aren’t in a big hurry to appear. But the dynamic changes of the ice cover during the melt season more than makes up for it, at least in terms of photography! If you get a chance, take a stroll around some of the coves and inlets along Dillon Reservoir or your local beaver ponds and wetlands, and check out the changes of the season. For daily photography updates, follow our Instagram feed, and visit our online gallery for an amazing selection of prints and greeting cards.

Climate: Early meltdown for Colorado snowpack

April 1 snowpack the 3d-lowest in 30 years; state preps for low runoff and summer streamflows

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Colorado snowpack started to decline in March, a month ahead of schedule.

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Colorado experienced widespread warmth in March.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Colorado water users need to prepare for below-average spring and summer runoff and streamflow based on the all-important April 1 snow survey, which showed a startling drop in the state’s snowpack since early March.

After tallying readings from automated SNOTEL sites and manual snow surveys, the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service said the water content of the snowpack is just 64 percent of average, down from 89 percent at the beginning of March.

“This is showtime when it comes to hydrological cycle in Colorado,” said state climatologist Nolan Doesken, referring to the fact that the state’s snowpack usually increases significantly in March and April. Continue reading

Morning photo: Meltdown

Reservoir scenes


FRISCO — Spring may be the most dynamic season for streams, ponds and reservoirs in the Colorado high country. After months of winter stasis, the lengthening days and warming temperatures bring change on a daily basis, as long-frozen surfaces suddenly turn into slushy puddles, only to refreeze at night as the temps drop just below freezing.

Additionally, the water level fluctuates beneath the ice, sometimes creating slanted surfaces that enable subsequent meltwater to flow in unusual patterns. I tried to capture some of that with the images in this set, all captured along the edge of Dillon Reservoir in the past few days. For daily photography updates, follow our Instagram feed, and visit our online gallery for an amazing selection of prints and greeting cards.

Clmate: Western snowpack dwindling fast

Not much relief from El Niño

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This west-wide map shows that not a single river basin the West has an above-average snowpack as of April 2, 2015.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Unless there’s a drastic change in the weather the next few weeks, 2015 will become one of those poster-child years for how global warming will affect the West. By early April — when the snowpack usually peaks across the region’s mountains — many areas were already seeing a decline. In the Rocky Mountains, the snowpack in nearly every river basin was at least 30 percent below average, while picture in the Far West was even more grim. Continue reading

Morning photo: Welcome, spring

Celebrate the season!


FRISCO —We’re stepping into spring here in the Colorado high country, and right on schedule, the first western bluebirds appeared on the fringes of local forests. There are other signs as well — reflective meltwater ponds along the edge of Dillon Reservoir and budding willow shrubs. Stop whatever you’re doing today for at least a few minutes to get outside and celebrate the changing of the seasons!

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