Morning photo: Saturday in the Rockies

Insta-summer!

Paintbrush starting to bloom in the sage scrub!

Paintbrush starting to bloom in the sage scrub!

FRISCO —Even the drive-by spots in Summit County are just littered with wildflowers these days, and some of the best spots to look are in some of the areas that were clear-cut a few years ago. Bright sunlight and plenty of moisture this spring have spurred an amazing variety of flowering plants where there was once only pine tree litter. Meanwhile, the sky was putting on its own show, preparing to fire up a nice round of thunderstorms. Continue reading

Denver Water eases watering restrictions

Spring snow and rain helped boost reservoir storage

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Dillon Reservoir is about as close to full as it’s going to get this year.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Just a day after the Colorado Water Conservation Board described lingering drought conditions across much of Colorado, Denver Water eased watering restrictions, saying that the city’s water supply situation has “greatly improved” since Stage 2 drought restrictions were enacted in early April.

“Our customers have responded very well to the call to use even less water, and we can finally be confident that enough water from the late-season snows has reached our reservoirs to bring them to reasonable levels,” said Greg Austin, president of the Denver Board of Water Commissioners.

“While the drought is not over, conditions have improved enough that customers may water a third day, if their lawns need it. We all still need to do our part to protect against the possibility of another dry winter, and we ask everyone to continue to use even less,” Austin said. Continue reading

Red flag fire warning in SW Colorado

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Hot and dry conditions in the Four Corners have prompted a red flag warning.

Record-high temps possible Sunday and Monday

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — While a cool and wet spring prevailed in the north-central mountains, it’s a different story in the southwestern part of the state, where a prolonged period of above normal temperatures and minimal precipitation have left fuels ready to burn at lower elevations.

Parts of the Four Corners area  will be facing significant fire danger this weekend and early next week as temperatures rise to record or near-record highs. A Red Flag warning is in effect from 1 p.m. through 8 p.m. for the San Juan mountains below 9,000 feet and extending into the Jemez Mountains and the upper Rio Grande Valley of northern New Mexico.

Winds will gust up to 30 mph with relative humidity values in the lower teens combining to create critical fire conditions. Any fires that start are likely to spread rapidly, according to the National Weather Service.

Strong high pressure over the desert Southwest has already led to record highs in parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Texas, and the heat wave is expected to intensify. For western Colorado, temps are expected to run about 10 degrees above average Sunday and nudge up to near record levels Monday.

 


 

Summit County: May moisture well above average

Summit County was wet, but much of the state was dry

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The central and north-central Colorado mountains were a bullseye for May precipitation as well as below-average temperatures.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — The two official National Weather Service observation sites in Summit County both reported above-average precipitation in May, helping to bolster snowpack and runoff in the Blue River Basin.

In Breckenridge, weather-watcher Ricky Bly reported 22.9 inches of snow, nearly double the long-time average of 10.9 inches based on records going back more than 100 years. It was the second month in a row with double the average snowfall. In April, Bly tallied nearly 50 inches of snow, making it the fifth-wettest April on record. Continue reading

Breckenridge moisture now above average for the year

Late season storms target north-central Colorado mountains

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Snow cover on Peak 8 at Breckenridge Ski Area reached a peak after the resort closed for the season. Bob Berwyn photo.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — A surge of April moisture brought the year-to-date snowfall total in Breckenridge right up to average, according to National Weather Service observer Rick Bly, who said that last month ended up being the fifth-wettest April on record, dating back to the late 1800s.

Bly tallied 49.5 inches of snow, compared to the average 24.7 inches. The snow that fell in April was equivalent to 4.14 inches of water, nearly double the average of 2.1 inches. For the water year to-date, Bly has measured 12.3 inches of snow-water equivalent, nearly an inch above average. Continue reading

Spring storm sweeps through Colorado high country

Ski hills celebrate powder; snow snarls roads, ups backcountry avalanche hazard

A spring snowstorm noses into Colorado Saturday, April 13.

A spring snowstorm noses into Colorado Saturday, April 13.

Almost 7 inches of snow in Frisco, Colorado.

Almost 7 inches of snow in Frisco, Colorado.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Mother Nature saved her best for late in the season, as a mid-April storm dropped more than 12 inches of snow across the Colorado mountains, as well as some beneficial rain along the Front Range.

The potent storm blew in on the nose of the jet stream, with a strong and moist northwest flow blasting through the mountains Saturday night. Many areas reported their biggest single-storm snow totals for the entire season, including downtown Frisco, where 7 inches piled up overnight. Continue reading

Summit County: March delivers moisture surplus

Season-long snow totals still lagging

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The Colorado Climate Center maintains graphs that show average annual temperatures for individual weather stations dating back to the start of record-keeping.

Plenty of fresh snow graced the Gore Range during March. Bob Berwyn photo.

Plenty of fresh snow graced the Gore Range during March. Bob Berwyn photo.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — While some Colorado residents may be yearning for daffodils, snow lovers are probably thinking better late than never, as March delivered a moisture surplus — the first month of the winter with snowfall totals significantly above average.

In Breckenridge, National Weather Service observer Rick Bly measured 34.3 inches of snow at his downtown weather station, nearly 10 inches more than the historic average of 25.5 inches. Similarly, Denver Water staffers in Dillon measured 30 inches of snow in March. The long-term average is 22 inches. Continue reading

Colorado snowpack inches upward in March

Some drought-hit areas stay dry

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Summit County, western Eagle County and parts of Colorado’s northeastern plains saw well above-average precipitation in March, but much of the rest of the state was very dry.

Drought conditions persist at some level across all of Colorado as of late March.

Drought conditions persist at some level across all of Colorado as of late March.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Colorado’s snowpack continues to inch upward and recently passed last year’s level, but the state’s water woes aren’t over, according to the results of the latest Natural Resources Conservation Service snow survey.

The good news is that the snowpack hasn’t quite peaked yet, according to the April 1 compilation of statistics from automated SNOTEL sites and manual survey results. The bad news is that soil moisture in many parts of the state is still at drought levels, and reservoir levels are well below average and lagging behind last year.

While March snowfall was above average in some parts of Colorado, the statewide snowpack increased by only one percent during the month, from 73 percent of median on March 1, to 74 percent of median on April 1. Continue reading

Morning photo: Best of March

Transition month

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Morning skies over the Gore Range.

FRISCO — Snow photos dominated in March, probably because it was the first month in quite a while to deliver plenty of moisture, along with cool temps and wintry full moon setting in the early days of spring. Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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