Snowpack surpasses 2001’s meager total |

Snowpack surpasses 2001’s meager total

Greg Masse
Post Independent Staff

The snow that recently blanketed Colorado over a nine-day period has been a boon to the state’s snowpack.

Already this winter, snow moisture has surpassed last year’s parched total.

This last round of snowstorms brought the moisture content of snowpack in the Colorado River Basin to 91 percent of average, while snow depths are at 86 percent of average.

Basinwide as of Wednesday, there was an average of 11.5 inches of moisture. In a typical year, the average annual moisture is 17 inches. The recent snow has pushed the average moisture half an inch over what fell last year, said Mike Gillespie, snow survey director for the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service in Denver.

The Roaring Fork River basin was listed at 85 percent of average snow-water equivalent on Friday, with Independence Pass above Aspen at 97 percent of average.

Statewide, the snowpack was above 83 percent on Friday, and historically late spring brings heavy snows to the high country.

“If we keep it coming here for another month, we’ll be above average,” said Gillespie. “The levels are already 145 percent of last year.”

That’s good news for the mountains, which last summer saw the worst drought in 175 to 400 years, prompting lawn-watering and other water-use restrictions.

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