Snowcap improved a smidgen last week |

Snowcap improved a smidgen last week

Cliff Thompson

Last week’s high-elevation snow and lower elevation rain added a little depth to the area’s snowpack moisture, but it remains at 80 percent or less of normal across Eagle County’s mountains.

But for the first time since late November, snowpack moisture exceeded 2002’s drought levels by the slightest margin.

Water officials are worried that continued dry, warm weather could rapidly deplete the snowpack, which acts as a huge frozen reservoir that supplies 80 percent of Colorado’s water.

At the headwaters of the Eagle River, the snowpack at Fremont Pass, east of Camp Hale, inched up a notch last week to 78 percent of the long-term average while the snowpack on Vail Mountain increased to 80 percent. Cooler temperatures slowed the rapid meltdown of the snowpack.

Last week, the melting snow caused the Eagle River flow at Avon to surge to nearly four times its average – at 296 cubic-feet per-second. By Tuesday the flow had ebbed to 132 cubic feet per-second. But clear, warm conditions are expect persist until the unsettled weather forecast for the weekend moves into the mountains.

During the drought of 2002 there was virtually no precipitation in April and May and June, resulting in the driest year in three centuries.

Cliff Thompson can be reached via e-mail at: or by calling 949-0555 ext. 450.

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