Vail-area precipitation could slow soon |

Vail-area precipitation could slow soon

Lauren Glendenning
Vail, CO Colorado
Lauren Glendenning/lglendenning@vaildaily.comOrlando Portillo works on fencing around snowy Ford Park recreation fields. While cold temperatures and snow have continued to plague Vail in recent weeks, warmer temperatures and more sunshine are expected in early May.

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado – With more snow in the forecast throughout the week, it’s beginning to look like the moisture that blessed us all winter isn’t going to let up anytime soon.

Vail Mountain logged 524 inches for the season as of Sunday’s closing day, but the inches just keep piling up. There wasn’t even dirt showing on the runs leading down to the base of the mountain Sunday, which also happened to be one of Vail’s latest closing days in history.

For those of you who aren’t interested in hiking into the backcountry for more powder turns this season, it looks like there is some relief in sight after this storm cycle passes through the area.

“In the spring in Colorado, we get these (storm) waves coming through and it seems like it won’t stop, but in the summer, this all tends to move to the north,” said Tom Renwick, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction. “That should start to happen after this next storm.”

The La Nina weather pattern that kept Vail and Beaver Creek buried in snow all season is going to start to weaken come May and definitely by June, Renwick said.

“La Nina is transitioning to neutral conditions by June,” he said.

That being said, the amount of precipitation this spring and summer should be about normal, Renwick said.

Joel Gratz, a meteorologist who runs, said usually it’s beautiful this time of year in Boulder, where he lives, but it’s even been cool and cloudy down there this last week.

The good news is that today will be a gorgeous day both in the mountains and on the Front Range, Gratz said.

Vail’s forecast for today calls for a mostly sunny day with a high of 52 degrees. But by Friday, there’s more rain and snow in the forecast and by Saturday the temperatures are expected to get cool again.

Gratz said the next coldest storm is this weekend, and into the first and second weeks in May there should be some breaks and some warmer weather.

“We’ll still see hints of cooler storms, but nothing like we’ve had for the last week,” Gratz said. “It’s been abnormally cool for the last week of April.”

For people who watch the water supply in Colorado, the cool temperatures and moisture have been contributing to the already great news this winter.

Mike Gillespie, the snow survey supervisor with the National Resources Conservation Service in Denver, said the Colorado River Basin is at 144 percent of average.

“It’s turned out to be a pretty phenomenal snow year,” Gillespie said. “In the last 30 days or so, we’ve really seen some really remarkable increases in the snowpack.”

Gillespie said the amount of snowpack means there’s a lot less concern about water supplies this year.

“We’re going to fill a lot of reservoirs this year with good runoff,” Gillespie said. “I don’t foresee, even if we go into a dry summer, that it’ll be a huge problem.”

Local water comes out of the rivers, not reservoirs, so local water officials keep their eyes on precipitation throughout the summer.

Diane Johnson, spokeswoman for the Eagle River Water and Sanitation District, said that as long as there’s not constant warm weather that causes everything to melt, combined with no rain, then the local water supply should be fine.

“You just hope for a slow melt,” Johnson said.

Once everything melts, which will happen eventually, then there still needs to be precipitation to keep the rivers flowing at high enough levels, she said.

“Locally, we need water in the river all the time in order to supply municipal water,” Johnson said.

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