Storm boosts Aspen-area snowpack, but not much
The snowstorm last weekend didn’t boost the snowpack in the Roaring Fork River basin up to average, but it added some much-needed moisture to most areas monitored by the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service.
The snowpack at the headwaters of the Roaring Fork River east of Aspen didn’t change much despite the pounding at Aspen Mountain, according to the conservation service’s Snotel weather measuring station near Grizzly Reservoir. The snowpack was at 92 percent of the average established between 1981 and 2010 as of April 16 and remained that way Monday, after the storm moved on. There was the equivalent of 14.6 inches of water in the snowpack as of Monday. The average for the date is 15.7 inches.
It was a different story at the headwaters of the Fryingpan and Crystal Rivers. Up the Fryingpan, the Ivanhoe station increased from 92 percent of average snowpack on April 16 to 107 percent Monday. The snow-water equivalent is 14.2 inches.
The Kiln site in the Fryingpan Valley went from 25 percent of average snowpack before the storm to 43 percent after. The Nast site, which is at the lowest elevation of the three weather stations in the Fryingpan, went from no snowpack to 57 percent of average. It had a snow-water equivalent of 0.8 inches.
The snowpack picture in the Crystal River Valley went from bleak to only slightly better with the storm. The snowpack at Schofield Pass went from 61 percent of average to 64 percent. The snow-water equivalent at that high elevation weather station was 20.9 inches.
McClure Pass went from no snowpack to 13 percent of average. There is only 1.8 inches of snow-water equivalent at the site.
North Lost Trail outside of Marble was only slightly better. It went from 14 percent of average snowpack to 35 percent with a snow-water equivalent of 4.1 inches.
Rain and snow showers are in Aspen’s forecast for the next few days, but it’s going to be too little, too late to help the snowpack. In an average year, the snowpack builds until reaching a peak in early to mid-April. Dry conditions throughout the winter and warm temperatures through the spring ate up the snowpack early.
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Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon may be closed intermittently Wednesday through the weekend, as highway crews break down and remove boulders and patch potholes caused by Tuesday’s rock slide.