Near-record January snow in Breckenridge

Pre-dawn, post snowstorm glow on Buffalo Mountain, above Silverthorne, Colorado.
Pre-dawn, post snowstorm glow on Buffalo Mountain, above Silverthorne, Colorado.

Blue River Basin snowpack well above average for the season

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — The Blue River Basin snowpack is in good shape at midwinter, with above average snowfall during all four months of the 2014 water year, which started Oct. 1, 2013.

Last month really helped bolster the totals, as Breckenridge weather-watcher Rick Bly reported the third-snowiest January on record, dating back to the late 1800s. Bly tallied 60.5 inches at his weather station, where he tracks precipitation for the National Weather Service. According to Bly, only January 1899 (80.4 inches) and 1996 (71.8 inches) were snowier.

For the year to-date, Bly has already measured more than 10 feet of snow in Breckenridge — 128.4 inches, to be exact, making it the eighth snowiest on record. But there have been a couple of recent seasons with more snow through January, for exacmple 2005-2006, when 148.9 inches piled up through January, as well as 1983-1984, with 145.1 inches.

All that snow also bodes well for summer water supplies, with the year to-date snow-water equivalent at 8.72 inches, more than three inches above the average for the year to-date (5.81 inches).

And February snowfall is all but certain to surpass the average for the month, which is 23.5 inches. Bly said he was expecting to reach that total by Feb. 9, and there’s more moisture in the forecast for the coming week. But we have quite a way to go to break the all-time February record, set in 1893 with 84.5 inches.

Snowfall totals at the NWS observation site in Dillon were equally impressive for January, with a total snowfall of 43.5 inches, more than double the long-term average of 18.4 inches. The snowiest day of the month was Jan. 31, when the Dillon station picked up 16 inches of snow in a 24-hour period.

Daily high temperatures in Dillon hovered around average for much of the month, with the average high for all days coming in at 30.2 degrees, exactly one degree below average, during the coldest month of the year. The average daily low temperature was 3.2 degrees, more than 4 degrees above average (minus 1.0 degrees).

The high for the month was 41 degrees, reached twice, Jan. 4 and Jan. 12. The coldest day of the month was January 6, when the high was only four degrees and the low was minus 10 degrees, the coldest reading of the month.





Max Feb 84.5 – 1893

48.8 1996

AVG Feb – 23.5

I think we will exceed all of last season by the end of this month


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