Statewide snowpack 86 percent of average | AspenTimes.com
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Statewide snowpack 86 percent of average

Aspen Times staff report
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – Colorado’s snowpack was only 86 percent of the long-term average at the end of the year after a cold and relatively dry December, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The snowpack ranged from a low of just 72 percent of average in the northwest part of the state to 97 percent in the southwest, according to the conservation service, which is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Aspen area’s snowpack mirrored that of the state overall, at 85 percent of average. The conservation service measures snow at seven stations in the Roaring Fork watershed. Its data shows the snowpack is lowest in the Fryingpan drainage and highest in the Crystal drainage.

The snowpack is just 35 percent of average at Nast Lake in the Fryingpan Valley; 62 percent at the Kiln site; and 95 percent up higher in elevation at Ivanhoe.

In the Crystal drainage, the snowpack was 84 percent of average at North Lost Trail near Marble; 88 percent of average at McClure Pass; and 99 percent at Schofield Pass.

Data is missing from the automated snow-measuring station east of Aspen at Grizzly Reservoir. That could skew the basin-wide average.

The statewide average is the lowest its been on Jan. 1 since 2003, according to Allen Green, state conservationist with the conservation service. And the snowpack lags well behind the last two years, when powder piled high during storm after storm in December both winters. The statewide snowpack is only 72 percent of what it was last year at this time.

Green said the snowpack could change drastically before the winter is over. Traditionally, about 40 percent of the maximum snowpack has accumulated by Jan. 1.

“Given our current conditions, we need to receive about 110 percent of average snowfall from now until mid-April to reach our average maximum totals,” Green said.


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