Looks like winter but it oughta be autumn | PostIndependent.com

Looks like winter but it oughta be autumn

Greg Massé
Post Independent Photo/Kara K. Pearson W/ WEATHER STORY The clouds break for a few minutes to allow sunlight to fall on a snow-covered Mount Sopris Wednesday afternoon. Although Glenwood Springs received a lot of precipitation, there was no snow accumulation.
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The first day of fall looked more like the middle of winter in some parts of the Roaring Fork Valley. Heavy snowfall blanketed peaks across the West Elk Mountains, turning even some lower portions of Mount Sopris into a winter wonderland. “We definitely got our first snow of the season,” Sunlight Mountain Resort spokesman Kevin Horch said. “The whole place looked pretty white today.”The top of Sunlight received about 4 inches of snow before it quickly melted, Horch said.

Sunlight is scheduled to open for the 2004-05 ski season on Friday, Dec. 3, but will open earlier if conditions allow. Snowfall was reported down to about 7,000 feet in elevation in the Elk Mountains and even lower in the northern part of the state near Steamboat Springs. A snow line was visible Wednesday morning along the southern cliffs of the Flat Tops above Glenwood Springs. National Weather Service technician Dan Cuevas said September snow down to 7,000 feet is rare, but not unheard-of. “It happens. It’s outside of normal, but it happens,” he said. While Wednesday’s bright white cover on the mountains was a welcome sight in a state still mired in a long-term drought, the rain that fell at lower elevations was also beneficial.Glenwood Springs had received 1.36 inches of rain since Monday morning through Wednesday – more than 80 percent of the city’s monthly average.

Also, according to records kept at Rifle Airport, just over 2 inches of rain has fallen there in September.The top of Aspen Highlands received 6 inches, the most snow out of all four ski mountains in the Aspen area. Area rivers were also showing the effects of all the recent moisture. The Crystal River swelled to 300 cubic feet per second in Carbondale on Wednesday, while the Roaring Fork River was close to 1,000 cfs, about 300 cfs higher than normal for Sept. 22. Contact Greg Massé: 945-8515, ext. 511gmasse@postindependent.com

Area Snowfall totals (In inches):Aspen: 4Aspen Highlands: 6Buttermilk: 2Snowmass: 4Sunlight Mountain: 4


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