Anyone else worried about frontrange snowpack? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 02-04-2009   #1
CBrown's Avatar
Evergreen, Colorado
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Anyone else worried about frontrange snowpack?

Seems to me we are behind the ball on snowfall east of Vail pass.

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Old 02-05-2009   #2
Westminster, Colorado
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Nope, right at average in the South Platte:
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Old 02-05-2009   #3
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The Ranch, Colorado
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Well, what will "average" look like compared to last year, I guess is how I think of it.
And I can't imagine we'll have 4K through the Gorge for weeks like last year on the Ark; etc.

I'm more concerned with how long peak will last, and we can't know that yet. Still, this year will be a disappointment compared to last in certain ways, I'm sure.
"self-aggrandizing jackass" - it says it right on the label
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Old 02-05-2009   #4
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Buena Vista, Colorado
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If we stay dry through March, the 'average' snow pack will simply evaporate away with the winds. It has happened before and will happen again. Do your snow dances, or plan on not watering your crabgrass!
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Old 02-05-2009   #5
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Durango, Colorado
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Snowhere - good point about the wind.

At least in the SW corner we're looking at a chance of snow thru Wednesday. Hopefully some dumpage occurs. Right now, we've got bare spots around the yard (at 7660')... which is crazy for February...
You can never step into the same river; for new waters are always flowing on to you. - Heraclitus of Ephesus
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Old 02-05-2009   #6
Denver, Colorado
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If you look at the data things are looking good so far through beginning of feb. Copied this data from basin wide snowpack summary report below. Basically every sub-basin in the south platte basin is doing better than last year (and most better than average) except the southern most headwaters of the region. Clear creek, cache la poudre, boulder creek, st. vrain, big T are all doing better. I'm not too bummed about the upper south platte being low. I've never run cheeseman or eleven mile, and seems like the dam masters keep these guys fairly low most of the time anyway. Upper blue has good snowpack at this point too, which combined with below avg upper south platte likely means more water through the tunnel and into the north fork of the south platte. Short story is, at this point in the year, most of the prime front range drainages appear to be on track for a decent year. Of course, we are only at 60% of peak and have 3 more months of snowfall to get us to good, but at this point there I'm not concerned.

Stupid editor screwed up the table. First number is % of last year, second number is % of average.

Heres the link to report

BASIN PERCENT OF PERCENT OF SNOW COURSE LAST YEAR AVERAGE ************************************************** ********** BIG THOMPSON BASIN Basin Totals 113% 102% BOULDER CREEK BASIN Basin Totals 111% 97% CACHE LA POUDRE BASIN Basin Totals 115% 113% CLEAR CREEK BASIN Basin Totals 118% 129% SAINT VRAIN BASIN Basin Totals 114% 100% UPPER SOUTH PLATTE BASIN Basin Totals 85% 88% TOTAL SOUTH PLATTE BASIN Basin Totals 107% 103
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Old 02-05-2009   #7
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Indian Hills, Colorado
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Based on NOAA's long-term forecast the front range has little to worry about; the west slope's forecast is more "brown." These forecasts are usually wildly inaccurate. Therefore, one could look at a dismal forecast with great optimism.

Current Forecast:

But don't bet anything on it. Check out how NOAA blew the 2002 drought forecast in November 2001. Didn't even see it coming.
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Old 02-05-2009   #8
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Bozeman, Montana
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make sure you are checking water equlevelent and not just snow pack. depth doesn't always tell how much water is sitting there. good luck i know we were way behind but the snow last week brought the south platte up 15 percent.
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Old 02-05-2009   #9
Ft Collins, Colorado
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Nothing to be concerned about ... yet. We are on a similar track to last year in the north. A bit behind that in the south, but still in good shape. Medium term weather models and the ensembles show no sign of a dry spell, and good chances of significant precip in the next month, including along the front range.

Of course, a dry March/April is a snowpack killer, regardless of where we're at at the end of Feb.

Big difference to last year ... a lot of our snow has fallen in warm SW flow, even on the northern mountains. This has mean less of a low elevation snowpack, which matters little to peak flows.

What we do need is precip on the front range and plains. It's pretty darn dry.

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Old 02-05-2009   #10
timbuktu, Colorado
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I know the snow in my back yard only affects golf courses on the front range, Ten Mile, the Blue and the Colorado... but I can tell you without any doubt, things are not looking good here. At 10'000 ft I've found bare spots biggest enough to throw a picnic, last year there was a dense 4 to 5 foot everywhere. It better start snowing now and not stop until May, if there any hope of anything close to last year!
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