Colorado snowpack shrinks, but still above average |

Colorado snowpack shrinks, but still above average

Colorado’s snowpack is disappearing about as fast 401(k) accounts, but it still remained above average for March 1, according to a federal agency that tracks the bounty.

The statewide average snowpack has shrunk from 20 percent above average on Jan. 1 to 17 percent above average on Feb. 1 to just 8 percent above average on March 1, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

“Below normal snowfall has been the pattern since December across most of the state and has deteriorated the early-season surplus,” the agency said in a report released Tuesday.

The biggest losses in snowpack were in the southern part of the state.

“The dry conditions were coupled with warmer than normal temperatures, which helped to deplete the snowpack at lower elevations,” said Alan Green, state conservationist with the conservation service.

The loss in snowpack wasn’t so drastic in the Roaring Fork River Basin over the last month. For the basin as a whole, which includes the Fryingpan and Crystal River valleys, the snowpack was 22 percent above average Tuesday. The conservation service’s data showed the snowpack was 29 percent above average east of Aspen, near Grizzly Reservoir. It was 38 percent above average at North Lost Trail, near Marble.

Statewide, this winter isn’t nearly as ferocious as last winter. The statewide snowpack is only 80 percent of what it was in 2007-’08, according to the conservation service.

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