Colorado snowpack 201% of normal |

Colorado snowpack 201% of normal

Staff report
An Aspen Whitewater Rafting group runs slaughterhouse falls on the Roaring Fork river in Aspen Tuesday. The river is expected to peak this week.
Maria Wimmer/The Aspen Times |

Colorado’s average snowpack across the state shot up to 201 percent of normal during May thanks to cold, wet weather, the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service reported Tuesday.

The statewide snowpack sat at about 95 percent of last year’s level as of June 1, the agency reported.

The Colorado River Basin, which includes the Roaring Fork River watershed, was at 204 percent of normal and 99 percent of last year’s snowpack as of June 1, according to the conservation service.

A lot of that snow will come melting down quickly in high temperatures. The Colorado Basin River Forecast Center’s forecast for the Roaring Fork River shows peak levels were predicted overnight Tuesday. Levels are expected to remain high until midnight Friday.

The Aspen Volunteer Fire Department conducted rescue training over the weekend and has another training session scheduled later this week.

Most of the snowpack in the northern part of the state exists above 10,000 feet in elevation, the conservation service reported. The remaining snow is above 11,000 feet in the southern part of the state.

Ruedi Reservoir was 79 percent full as of Tuesday, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation reported. The agency’s website showed the inflow from the Upper Fryingpan River was at 980 cubic feet per second. The reclamation bureau issued a statement Monday that said the releases from Ruedi dam would be ramped up to 700 cfs Tuesday. That level will be maintained “until further notice,” the agency said.

The high amount of water released from Ruedi also affects the Roaring Fork River below the confluence in Basalt.