Recent storms increase state snowpack |

Recent storms increase state snowpack

The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

DENVER ” Snows the past two weeks have deepened Colorado’s all-important snowpack considerably.

The South Platte River Basin, a major water supplier for the Front Range, went from 68 percent of the 30-year average on Dec. 2 to 94 percent Sunday morning.

The Upper Colorado, a source for downstream states, went from 79 percent to 104 percent of the 30-year average.

In southwestern Colorado, where the snowpack had began to improve in early December, the San Miguel-Dolores-San Juan-Animas river basins went from 94 percent to 149 percent.

Snowpack accounts for 80 percent of Colorado’s surface water. Water suppliers, farmers and other water users use the mountains as a natural reservoir, counting on the snow to melt when it is needed ” in the spring and early summer.

The Yampa and White river basins in northwest Colorado lagged at 74 percent of average Sunday, but that still was better than two weeks ago, when snowpack was 59 percent of average for that date.

The statewide snowpack was at 113 percent of average as of Saturday.

The avalanche danger in the Aspen zone is moderate on all aspects above treeline, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center’s Monday report. Near and below treeline, danger is moderate on slopes facing west, northwest, north, northeast, and east. The danger is low on other aspects.

Unstable, windloaded slabs are possible on most steep slopes. High elevation, shady slopes may have a weak layer at the bottom of the snowpack at a perfect depth for human-triggered slides, according to the CAIC.

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