Category: Summit County snow and weather

Climate: Snowpack dwindles across southern Colorado

‘Every El Niño is different’

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Precipitation across the West has been patchy for the water year to-date.

Staff Report

March snowfall across the Colorado mountains helped maintain the statewide snowpack near average for the water year to-date, but the strong El Niño hasn’t played out as expected.

Instead of boosting moisture in the southwestern corner of Colorado, this year’s edition of the Pacific Ocean warm-water cycle sent the storm track surging into the Pacific Northwest and then down across Colorado’s northern mountains. Northeastern Colorado has been the wettest of all, with a wide section of the plains seeing up to double the average annual rainfall so far.

That’s bad news for the Southwest, where moisture has been sparse for the past several years. Western New Mexico, most of Arizona and the southern California deserts and coast have been especially dry since the start of the rainy season. Regionally, snowpack in the Colorado River Basin above Lake Powell was 94 percent of average as of March 17, and the Federal Bureau of Reclamation is projecting that the inflow to Lake Powell will be just 80 percent of average for the April to July period. Continue reading “Climate: Snowpack dwindles across southern Colorado”

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Sunday set: Winter dreams

From the archives

There’s pure magic in the deep, cold heart of winter, especially during the golden hour, when the rising or setting sun can be playful, mysterious and perplexing. The images in this set capture a bit of that magic, but there’s so much more. #getoutside #explore and don’t forget your camera! If you want to support independent journalism, visit our online gallery to buy a fine art print, with proceeds supporting Summit Voice.

Rally in Breckenridge to support climate action

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Rally for climate action in Breckenridge on Aug. 20.

‘Beat the Heat’ event aimed at showing public support for Clean Power Plan

Staff Report

FRISCO — Summit County residents have a chance to show their support for meaningful action to reduce heat-trapping greenhouse gas pollution at an Aug. 20 rally in Breckenridge organized by Environment Colorado. The rally will start 11 a.m. near Riverwalk Center, with Environment Colorado organizers doing one-on-one outreach to passers-by.

The Beat the Heat event is aimed at showing support for President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, the single biggest step the U.S. has taken to address global warming. Activists want to make it clear that Coloradans want state leaders like Senator Michael Bennet and Senator Cory Gardner, as well as Governor Hickenlooper to lead on climate action. Continue reading “Rally in Breckenridge to support climate action”

Warmer oceans lead to more extreme coastal rainstorms

Study tracks eastern Mediterranean climate trends

This image shows simulated precipitation (over 24 hours from 6 to 7 July 2012) of a model run using observed sea surface temperature (a) and (b) using a colder SST representative of the early 1980s). The black cross marks the town of Krymsk, the thin black lines are height contours with a distance of 150 metres.
This image shows simulated precipitation (over 24 hours from 6 to 7 July 2012) of a model run using observed sea surface temperature (a) and (b) using a colder SST representative of the early 1980s). The black cross marks the town of Krymsk, the thin black lines are height contours with a distance of 150 metres. Graphic courtesy GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Rapidly warming sea surface temperatures are resulting in more extreme coastal rainstorms, Russian and German researchers said after analyzing climate data from the eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea.

The impetus for the study was a deadly 2012 flash flood in the Russian city of Krymsk, near the Black Sea coast that killed 172 people. The Black Sea and eastern Mediterranean have warmed by about 2 degrees Celsius since the early 1980s.

The study was led led by scientists at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany, and published in the international journal Nature Geoscience. Continue reading “Warmer oceans lead to more extreme coastal rainstorms”

Summit County: Dillon Reservoir expected to fill within a week

Denver Water juggling inflow, outflow

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After peaking later than average, the sremaining nowpack in the Blue River Basin is melting fast. Graph courtesy Denver Water.
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Flows in Blue River tributaries like Straight Creek are near their seasonal peak.

*Story corrected at 2 p.m. Dillon Reservoir outflow to the Blue River increased to 1,600 cfs Monday, July 15.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Dillon Reservoir should be full within a week, according to the latest update from Denver Water, which just bumped up the outflow to the Lower Blue to make room for more runoff the next few days.

As of June 15, Denver Water was releasing about 1.600 cubic feet per second from Dillon Reservoir, with about 2,200 cfs flowing in from the Blue River and its tributaries. And Denver Water is expecting more high inflows for the foreseeable future, according to a recent email update:

“A fresh look at the estimated level of snowpack above Dillon Reservoir … tells us there is still eight inches of snow in some places, meaning high flows can be expected for the foreseeable future. The good news is that inflows to Dillon Reservoir – which have ranged from 2,206 to 2,623 over the past several days – appear to be trending downward.” Continue reading “Summit County: Dillon Reservoir expected to fill within a week”

Widespread flood warnings in Colorado

Hikers, motorists warned about overflowing streams and rivers

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Subtropical moisture streaming into Colorado is triggering more flood concerns.
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Flooding is possible in southwest Colorado, parts of the high country, as well as many Front Range streams.

Staff Report

FRISCO — With more subtropical moisture streaming into Colorado from the Southwest, parts of the state are under flood watches and flood warnings at the start of the weekend, including:

  • South Boulder Creek near Eldorado Springs,
  • Cache La Poudre River near Greeley affecting Weld County.
  • South Platte River at Henderson affecting Adams County.
  • South Platte River near Kersey affecting Weld County.
  • South Platte River near Weldona affecting Morgan County.
  • South Platte River near Balzac affecting Logan, Morgan and
    Washington Counties.

In the high country, the Eagle River is expected to come close to overflowing this weekend, with a flood advisory for the weekend. Other rivers running high include the Roaring Fork between Aspen and Glenwood Springs and the Colorado River from the Eagle/Grand County line to the Utah border. Continue reading “Widespread flood warnings in Colorado”