Snowpack is above average in Colorado mountains
February 4, 2014
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Kremmling Field Office snow surveyors Mark Volt and Noah Bates took the February 1 snow survey measurements during the last days of January. The readings were taken before the Jan. 30-31 snowstorm that dumped 1-2 feet of snow in the mountains.
Snowpack in the high-elevation mountains above Middle Park is now around 120 percent of the 30-year average.
It’s still early in the season but we are doing good. Last year’s snowpack at this time was only 73 percent of average.
Snow density is averaging 24 percent, which means that for a foot of snow there are 2.9 inches of water. Lower depth of the snowpack is very granular, which is responsible for the weak snow stability.
Most of the snow courses around Middle Park have been read since the 1940s. Snow course readings are taken at the end of each month, beginning in January and continuing through April. March is historically the snowiest month, and the April 1 readings are the most critical for predicting runoff and summer water supplies, as most of our high country snowpack peaks around that time.
For further information, including real-time snow and precipitation data for SNOTEL (Automated Snow Telemetry) sites, visit http://www.co.nrcs.usda.gov/snow/index.html.