Snow surveyors Matt Barnes, Mark Volt and Vance Fulton of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Kremmling Field Office endured blustery cold and blowing snow during the last days of January to take the Feb. 1 manual snow course readings, the first for 2009.
Snowpack in the mountains around Middle Park ranges from 81 percent to 157 percent of the 30-year average. Last year at this time it was 92 percent to 133 percent of average.
The southern drainages have the most moisture content: Fraser River, 133 percent; Williams Fork, 126 percent; and Blue River, 125 percent.
The northern drainages have the least: Corral Creek, 92 percent; Muddy Creek, 112 percent; and Willow Creek, 116 percent.
Overall, this is quite similar to Feb. 1, 2006. Snow density is averaging 24 percent, which means that each foot of snow contains about 2.9 inches of water.
In Colorado, snowpack in the northern basins are average to above average, while the southern basins are well above average.
Most of the snow courses in Middle Park have been read since the 1930s or '40s. Snowpack readings are taken at the end of each month, beginning in January and continuing through April.