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Colorado snowpack above 100% of avarage

The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

DENVER ” Colorado State University climatologist Nolan Doesken had been watching snowpack levels climb in northern river basins, but when told Saturday that every basin in the state was above 100 percent of the 30-year average, he was gleeful.

“It’s like hallelujah,” he said, recalling that even though veteran forecasters knew it was too early to panic during the dry November, when many people were concerned.

“Our reservoirs had finally come back to about normal after the drought of 2002 and then the winter starts out like a real dud,” he said.

And when the snow did fall, it missed many lower areas. But two to three inches of rain, unusual for this time of the year, fell, moistening the ground.

Areas in the southwest reported lightning during the snowstorms, and it came down so hard it could be heard in a car even with a CD blasting. “That’s proof of high water content,” said Doesken.

The snow that has already fallen puts the state in a good position should drier conditions occur, as has been predicted in some forecasts. Snowpack accounts for 80 percent of Colorado’s surface water.

Doesken said he remains concerned about global warming and its effect on Colorado’s climate. Some meteorologists fear the snow will turn to rain or melt too soon. The state uses the mountains as a natural reservoir and if it melts too soon, it will interfere with the economy. But for now the news is good. The upper Colorado, a major provider to downstream states, was at 121 percent.


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