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Summit County: October precip close to average

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October snow. bberwyn photo.

Temperatures much cooler than average at the National Weather Service observation site in Dillon

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — The 2014 water year started with above-average snowfall in Summit County — a good sign for the winter according to Breckenridge-based weather-watcher Rick Bly, who measured 20.5 inches of snow during October. The average snowfall for the month is 12.3 inches.

According to Bly’s historical records, dating back to the late 1800s, above-average December snowfall is followed by an above average winter 70 percent of the time.

That snow melted down to 1.33 inches of water, just slightly above the average 1.27 inches of precipitation in October, which is the driest month of the year in Summit County. Continue reading

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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

Morning photo: Best of the week

Snow!

A-Basin powder!

A-Basin powder!

FRISCO —Even though spring started a few days ago, snow scenes were the highlight of the week as far as photography. A chilly storm dropped one of the biggest single-storm totals of the year on Summit County, leading to some fantastic ski conditions and beautiful winter landscapes around the area. More importantly, the snow will help to at least take the sharpest edge of what was looking to be a continuing drought. We’re not out of the woods yet, but even with average snowfall the next few weeks, Denver Water is saying there’s an 80 percent chance Dillon Reservoir could fill completely this summer. Even if you’re ready for daffodils and tulips, it’s probably a good idea to keep doing those snow dances!
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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

Morning photo: Snowy day

Finally!

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Snow poppies.

FRISCO — It was one of those monochromatic snow days in the Colorado high country, so rather than fighting it, I tried some of the subdued Instagram filters on a series of shots taken right around the neighborhood here in Frisco. The poppies, so gloriously red in June, are now mere husks, but still stand tall in the flower beds, and there really is nothing nicer than a quiet snowfall in an aspen grove.

Many of the images in Summit Voice photo essays are available in our Fine Art America online gallery, and there’s also Summit County gallery at our ImageKind website. You can also order images by contacting me directly at bberwyn@comcast.net. It’s a great way to support independent online journalism! Continue reading

Morning photo: Ode to snow …

White magic

Just playing with a telephoto lens, depth-of-field and some snowflakes, right off the Summit Voice weather deck!

FRISCO —Summer may announce itself with crashing thunder, but winter usually arrives quietly, with the whisper of falling snow. You have to listen very carefully to hear it. The best place is in a hushed aspen glade, or a thick stand of evergreens, where the flakes brush against the boughs as they sift out of the sky. Since we’re dependent on snow in so many ways here in Colorado, it seems appropriate to spend a few minutes in reflective thanks when it arrives, time I always consider well spent. Here’s to lots more of it this year.

A few years ago, I walked outside and noticed some nicely formed flakes on the rear window of our car. I ran back upstairs and grabbed my Fuji Finepix, set it to macro and snapped a few shots, not really thinking it would turn out. But I love the result and I’ve kept the image in my files to illustrate various stories about snow.

Continue reading

Colorado: Moisture deficit continues in October

Monthly high temps slightly cooler than average

Nov. 1 snow cover across the U.S. is well below average.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — After a long, hot summer, Summit County cooled down in October, to the point that Denver Water’s Dillon-based weather watchers actually tallied an average monthly high temperature that was below the historic average — the first time the average reading has been colder than normal since February 2010.

The average maximum temperature at Dillon was 54.6 degrees, which was 0.7 degrees below the average reading for the site, based on records going back to 1909.

The average daily minimum low temperature (21.3 degrees) was 1.1 degrees above average (20.2), which means that the overall temperature was slightly above average, yet again, in a trend that has mostly persisted for the past 15 years, with only a handful of exceptions. For most of the spring and summer, temperatures at the Dillon site ran between 4 and 6 degrees above average. Continue reading

Summit County: 5th-driest March on record

Temperatures averaged 6 to 8 degrees above average

By the end of March, most of the valleys were snow-free.

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — This past month may not have been the driest March ever in the high country, but it was very close. At the official National Weather Service in Dillon, there was measurable precipitation on only four days (March 2,3,4 and 19), adding up to just 3 inches of snow and a paltry 0.20 inches of water, compared to the average 1.42 inches of water and 22 inches of snow.

Temperatures at the Dillon site veered even farther from average, with the average maximum temperature for the month soaring all the way to 47.6 degrees, more than 8 degrees above the long-term average of 39 degrees. The average low temperature for the month was 13.9 degrees, compared to the average 7.6 degrees. Continue reading

Colorado: Storm closes I-70, avalanche warning issued

Near whiteout conditions along I-70 at the Eisenhower Tunnel Thursday at 7 a.m..

*Updated – CDOT announced the re-opening of I-70 between Denver and the high country at 10:30 a.m., with Vail Pass remaining closed for avalanche control work.

Late winter storm hits I-70 corridor and Front Range

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The storm that rolled into the area late Wednesday night has left the high country partially cut off, with dangerous avalanche conditions in the backcountry.

Both I-70 and Loveland Pass closed early Thursday morning.I-70 eastbound was closed between Vail Pass and the Eisenhower Tunnel and westbound at the C-470 junction. Check www.CoTrip.org for updates.

In Summit County, the Breckenridge Free Ride and Summit Stage told riders to expect possible delays on many routes.

A winter storm warning is in effect through 11 a.m. Thursday. Snow totals ranged between 6 to 12 inches for the north-central mountains, with lesser amounts farther north, south and west. A-Basin reported 9 inches of snow  (14 inches in the past 48 hours), with 7 inches at Winter Park and Loveland, 12 inches at Eldora, 9 inches at Echo Mountain and 5 inches at Breckenridge. Continue reading

Weather: The problem with forecasts …

Outlook uncertain, so do your snow dance …

A complex Pacific weather pattern may send some Pacific storm energy toward Colorado next week — or, the flow may split once again, sending storms to the north and south of the state.

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — After a small “surprise” storm Wednesday night delivered several inches of snow to most of Colorado’s mountains, the outlook is once again murky, as forecasters struggle to decipher a complex storm track for next week.

A misleading tweet suggesting fresh snow for last weekend, while all the credible forecasts were pointing toward a classic upslope storm, with most snow falling east of the Divide. But when it comes to luring people to the mountains, reality and truth take a back seat to hype.

Bottom line: If you start seeing a flurry of tweets and other messages from the usual suspects about incoming powder, don’t hold your breath just yet. Alright, I’ll name names, what the heck – How did that 6-12 inches work out for you last week, Vail Resorts?

Of course there are always a few crystal-ball gazers and resort boosters who don’t have a problem with putting a potentially misleading spin on the forecast, like this bit, calling for a “changing weather pattern” next week.Turns out that the story is based on another popular forecasting website. But if visit that site, you’ll see that the Colorado outlook actually says something quite different from the way it was interpreted. Continue reading

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