Storm boosts snowpack slightly |

Storm boosts snowpack slightly

Cliff Thompson

EAGLE COUNTY – This week’s snowstorm added an inch of water to the snowpack that feeds Eagle County’s rivers, improving conditions slightly.With winter’s clock winding down, the time available to boost snowpack in area hills is dwindling. The snowpack, which drives local water supplies, is now at a combined 82 percent of average on Vail Mountain, Fremont Pass and Copper Mountain. Over the last 30 years the water content of the three sites has averaged nearly 48 inches as of March 22. Snowpack typically peaks the first week of May.Those three sites are used by the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District, which manages water and wastewater for the eastern half of the county, to forecast the water supply for the spring, summer and fall. Streams are used for drinking water, other domestic needs and irrigation.The composite chart Tuesday shows the water supply frozen as snowpack on those three sites is just an inch better than it was on the same date in 2002, which was the beginning of the worst drought in 300 years.Water officials like Eagle River Water and Sanitation’s Dennis Gelvin say they’re hoping that this year won’t be a repeat of that.In 2002 the drought was deepened by virtually no spring or summer rains until July. It was exacerbated by warm windy weather that caused snow pack to melt off nearly a month early. That increased the demand for water at a time when rivers and streams were approaching all-time low flows.The trio of area reservoirs that could release water to Gore Creek and the Eagle River are expected to fill during spring runoff, Gelvin said in an earlier interview.Another storm is heading into the high country and expected to drop more snow Wednesday night. Staff Writer Cliff Thompson can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 450, or, Colorado

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