Snowpack recovers in February |

Snowpack recovers in February

Colorado’s snowpack recovered nicely in February and some readings in the Roaring Fork Valley finally entered the respectable level.

The Natural Resource Conservation Service – the federal agency that measures snowpack levels – said Colorado’s overall snowpack was 81 percent of average as of March 1. That’s up from 72 percent of average on Feb. 1.

Despite the big gains in February, the snowpack is nowhere close to what it was last year, the conservation service reported. This year’s level is 71 percent of last year’s level.

“This year’s La Nina pattern has been dramatically different than the previous La Nina pattern,” the conservation service said in a press release. “At this time last year many basins in Colorado had broken records that had been in place since the 1930s; this year, the average would be a welcome benchmark.”

While the skiing has become respectable, the forecast for river runoff isn’t so grand. “All major basins in Colorado are expected to have below average runoff conditions this spring and summer,” the conservation service said.

In the Roaring Fork River basin, snowpack levels range from 70 percent of average to 85 percent of average at the seven sites where it is measured. East of Aspen, at the 10,600-foot level, the snowpack is 70 percent of average.

The highest snowpack level in the basin is 85 percent at Ivanhoe in the Fryingpan Valley.

In the Crystal River drainage, the highest reading is at North Lost Trail, near Marble, with 81 percent.

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