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Snow in Colorado

Storm delivers widespread moderate snow

For the first time 2012, snow graced the mountains of Colorado.

SUMMIT COUNTY — A fast-moving storm dropping out of the northwest brought a measure of relief to ski areas along the I-70 corridor, with snow totals ranging between 5 and 8 inches at most areas.

Copper's snowstake cam.

Beaver Creek and Echo Mountain both claimed 9 inches of snow, with most of the precipitation falling Saturday during the day. Several resorts reported 8-inch totals, including Vail, Aspen, Buttermilk, Snowmass and Copper Mountain, which has its snowstake cam to prove it.

The storm favored the northern and central mountains, while the San Juans reported less snow, with 4 inches at Telluride and 1 inch at Wolf Creek, which still has the deepest base in the state, at 52 inches.

High pressure will dominate Monday and Tuesday with warming temperatures, making for some of the best ski days of the season so far.

The weather models are still in some disagreement, but there’s a chance for another storm arriving along with some colder air Wednesday, then another warmup late in the week.

 

 

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Colorado: Snowpack records set in northern mountains

Tower SNOTEL site busts a mark set in 1978

Northern Colorado experienced banner snowfall during the winter, leading to projections for healthy runoff.

A rotary plow and dumptruck work in tandem in Frisco, Colorado to clear snow from downtown in this file photo from December 2010.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY —  The spring snowpack across northern Colorado continued to grow during April, with the automated Tower SNOTEL site, near Buffalo Pass in the Park Range, setting an all-time record for water equivalent. As of May 1, the sensors at the Tower site measured 200 inches of snow on the ground, which would melt out to 72.6 inches of water, surpassing the previous record of 71.1 inches set back in 1978.

According to Natural Resources Conservation Service, that measurement also sets an all-time state record for total snowpack at any individual site in Colorado. Record snowpack levels were also recored at other sites around the Yampa, Colorado and the North and South Platte river basins.

“Even many of the old-timers have never seen some of the depths measured across northern Colorado this month”, said NRCS state conservationist Allen Green.

Basin Snowpack
% of Average
Snowpack
% of Last Year
Reservoir Storage
% of Average
Reservoir Storage
% of Last Year
Gunnison 139 195 111 86
Colorado 151 222 107 93
South Platte 150 186 98 92
North Platte 165 198
Yampa/White 165 225 102 88
Arkansas 112 126 86 79
Rio Grande 72 80 79 88
San Miguel, Dolores, Animas & San Juan 93 121 109 109
Statewide 135 175 101 91

Continue reading

Weatherblog: Widespread snow!

A National Weather Service graphic shows a stationary front draped parallel to the I-70 corridor.

Freshies on closing day at Breckenridge and Copper Mountain

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The 2010 — 2011 ski season will end the way it began at Breckenridge and Copper Mountain, as much of the Colorado high country wakes up to  winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories. According to the National Weather Service, 5 to 10 inches of snow could pile up across some of the northern and central mountains by Sunday morning — great powder conditions on closing day.

Not all Colorado ski areas are closing down. A-Basin and Loveland remain open with the deepest snowpack of the season. A-Basin has picked up a few inches of new snow almost every day this week and Loveland reported passing the 500-inch mark for the season a few days ago. A-Basin reported 360 inches of snow for the season early last week and an 89-inch base as of Saturday morning.

Saturday’s snow is being fueled by a nearly stationary polar frontal zone that’s been wobbling north and south the past few days. A Pacific disturbance sliding eastward along the front will provide lift and intensify snowfall at the higher elevations throughout the day. Some areas could see periods of heavy snow, including a chance of thunder-snow. Yet another, and slightly stronger disturbance will move through Sunday, with a continued chance of snow. Under a generally southwest flow, the San Juans and West Elks could see the heaviest snowfall, with accumulations of 10 to 20 inches possible. Continue reading

Weatherblog: Quiet days ahead, snowpack looking good

No red or yellow dry zones anywhere in Colorado as of Feb. 27.

Next storm expected Wednesday night

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Quiet weather is expected for most of the coming week, but the late February storm that exited the area Sunday helped boost the snowpack across the state, with all the major river basins reporting near to above-normal readings.

In the San Juans, the snowpack is at 99 percent of average, good news during a La Niña year when the southwest corner of the state can often be quite dry.

Some 48-hour storm totals (as of Sunday evening) include 18 inches at Wolf Creek, 6 inches at Steamboat, 20 inches at Silverton Mountain and Monarch Mountain with an incredible 35 inches. Crested Butte reported 20 inches for the two-day storm and locally, A-Basin picked up a solid 17 inches to bring the base up to 74 inches. Continue reading

Colorado weatherblog: Big snows, avalanche warnings

Wilderness Sports sponsors the Summit Voice weatherblog. Click to visit Wilderness Sports online.

Powder action in the Alleys at Arapahoe Basin, Colorado.

Powder action in the Alleys at Arapahoe Basin, Colorado.

Fresh powder at all Colorado ski areas; large and dangerous avalanches expected in the central and southern mountains

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — In the last edition of the weatherblog, we asked, “Whither the jet stream?” Well, we got our answer Thursday night and Friday morning as a fire hose of steady snow set up across much of Colorado, delivering impressive snow totals around the state, with the biggest totals in the central mountains. Monarch reported a 26-inch storm total, while Crested Butte reported 22 inches. Click here for the full snow report.

That bullseye area is now under an avalanche warning valid through 12 p.m. Sunday (Feb. 27), where forecasters with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center are expecting a cycle of large natural avalanches on northwest to east-facing slopes.

“Backcountry travel is not recommended at this time as some of these avalanches could run long distances and out to areas were travelers would normally think it is safe,” The CAIC said in it morning bulletin. Read the warning here. Continue reading

Weatherblog: Another day, another dump

Wilderness Sports sponsors the Summit Voice weatherblog. Click to visit Wilderness Sports online.

A strong winter storm is swirling from coastal B.C. toward Colorado. Click on the image to see the animated version of the satellite image.

Heavy snow possible Monday afternoon through Tuesday; backcountry avalanche danger will increase

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The next round of winter storm warnings have been issued for the north-central mountains of Colorado, with snowfall expected to increase Monday afternoon ahead of an Arctic front diving southeastward toward the area.

Both the Boulder and Grand Junction-based forecasters are calling for a period of heavy snow beginning Monday night and lasting into sometime Tuesday, with 8 to 14 inches possible on northwest facing slopes that wring the maximum amount of moisture from the moist flow. The warning is in effect from 12 p.m. Monday through 6 p.m. Tuesday. Continue reading

Weatherblog: January to end with a thaw

January will end with mild temps and above-average snowpacks in most river basins in Colorado.

Valley temps could climb into the low 40s by the weekend

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — It looks like January will wind down with some calm and mild weather, as high pressure builds across the West, bringing sunny skies and temperatures climbing up to the high 30s and even the low 40s by the end of the week. But first, another weak system — the last in the series — will move through the mountains. with snow expected along the I-70 corridor by mid-day Tuesday and lingering along the Continental Divide into Tuesday night.

Each successive forecast model has weakened the incoming wave, with the most recent forecasts only calling for a trace to a few inches of snow in the most-favored spots. Strong high pressure will set up in blocking pattern Wednesday and remain over the area through most of the weekend, with the next best chance of snow Sunday night into Monday. Continue reading

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