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Colorado: Spring storm packs a punch

Resorts reporting powder conditions, but road conditions could hamper access, while the backcountry avalanche danger soars

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An active northern jet stream is bringing cold air and moisture to the northern tier of states, including Colorado. On and off snow is possible through the weekend.

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The CAIC is reporting numerous backcountry avalanches. Click here for more photos.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — March is living up to its reputation as the snowiest month in the Colorado high country, with chilly spring storm snarling roads, intensifying avalanche danger and adding much-needed moisture to the state’s snowpack.

Ski areas around the state are generally reporting up to 12 inches of new snow in the past few days, and moderate to heavy snow continued falling Saturday morning. Some of the heaviest totals are expected east of the Continental Divide, where the California Department of Transportation reported bumper-to-bumper traffic around I-70 and C-470.

East of Denver, I-70 was closed to the Kansas border, and slick conditions on the westbound approach to the mountains prompted CDOT to require chains, snow tires or four-wheel drive for all vehicles in Mt. Vernon Canyon, just west of Denver.

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Morning photo: Snow, snow … snow!

Spring fluff

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Gotta love the way that March snow sticks to the branches.

FRISCO — Finally, in the first few days of spring, winter weather showed up for real, with one of the biggest single-day snowfalls of the season here in Frisco. The snow was wet and heavy and settled quickly, so it was hard to get a good measurement of the daily total, but at least five inches piled up here in town. And it’s getting that time of year when you really appreciate the snowfall, knowing it could be the last (although the weather forecast is calling for more wintry weather this weekend). It’s kind of like that tingly feeling feeling when the first snows of autumn fall, except in reverse. Sometimes in the middle of the winter, we take it all for granted (but not this year), and some years, we even get fed up (although we shouldn’t). But Thursday’s snowfall was just about perfect. Continue reading

Colorado: Storm rolling in …

Forecaster still uncertain for high country snow totals

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A big Pacific trough is working its way inland, bringing snow to much of Colorado.

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By Summit Voice

FRISCO — A winter storm rolling out of the Four Corners toward Colorado is billed as having the potential to drop several feet of snow in parts of the state, but even late Friday night, forecast models were still not in complete agreement as to where the heaviest snow will fall Saturday through Sunday.

National Weather Service forecasters have issues winter storm watches and warnings, as well as blizzard watches for almost the entire state, but the Denver-based forecasters warned that, “Summit County could very well get sheltered again in this Front Range storm.” The forecasters also said the upper low might eject farther south than previously anticipated, which would push the heavier snow amounts farther south. Click here for the latest updates and links to all the warnings. Continue reading

February snowfall near average in Summit County

Temps run well below normal at Dillon weather station

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A satellite photo from the NASA Earth Observatory collection shows extensive snow cover prevailed across parts of Colorado after storms in late January and early February. Click here to learn more about this image.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Temperatures in at least parts of Summit County ran well below average in February, while snowfall totals were near average for the month at the two official National Weather Service reporting sites in Breckenridge and Dillon.

In Breckenridge, long-time weather observer Rick Bly said he tallied 25.4 inches of snow for the month. The long-term average is 23.5 inches. The snow-water equivalent was also slightly above average, at 1.88 inches compared to 1.71 inches.

The snowfall, combined with cool temperatures, helped maintain the snowpack but didn’t make much of a dent in the seasonal deficit. For the year to-date (starting Oct. 1), snowfall is still about 30 percent below average, at 69,5 inches. The average, based on records going back to the late 1800s, is 101.5 inches. Continue reading

Colorado: Weekend snowstorm delivers

Mountains could see a few more inches Tuesday night

Northeast winds delivered good snow to Colorado's northeastern plains.

Northeast winds delivered good snow to Colorado’s northeastern plains.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — A storm rolling across the state Saturday night delivered the goods, with every ski area in Colorado reporting new snow Sunday morning. Totals (24 hour) ranged from 11 inches at Monarch to six inches and Wolf Creek and Steamboat, at opposite ends of the state. Most resorts in between also reported about a half a foot of new snow Sunday morning. Continue reading

Colorado: Snowpack creeping up, still trailing 2012

Northwest, Southwest mountains seeing some drought relief

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None of the state’s river basins has an average snowpack as of Feb. 15.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Colorado’s snowpack is making a mini-comeback, with February snowfall running close to normal across the mountains, piling up at an average rate of 1 to 2 inches per day.

With another storm set to roll into the Rockies the second part of the week, some SNOTEL sites in the southwestern mountains could reach close to average for the first time this winter. But for now, the statewide snowpack is tracking behind last winter, at 75 percent of average as of Feb. 15.

The southwest corner of the state is reporting the highest readings, with the combined San Miguel, Dolores, Animas and San Juan reading at 89 percent of average, the Upper Rio Grande and 79 percent and the Gunnison Basin at 76 percent. Continue reading

Colorado: Dry January worsens drought woes

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Bare ground above 9,000 feet in early February is not good news for Colorado’s water situation.

Statewide snowpack 30 percent below seasonal average

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Despite some late-January storms, snowpack in the Colorado River Basin continues to lag behind last year and is 30 percent below average for this time of year, according to the latest tally from the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Colorado’s southwestern mountains benefited the most from the January precipitation, with snowpack in the combined San Miguel, Dolores, Animas and San Juan basins climbing to 88 percent of normal; up from 70 percent of normal measured on January 1. Continue reading

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