COLORADO, USA — While the Front Range and much of eastern Colorado are mired in a horrendous drought, there is a very big bit of good news in the mountains.
So far this winter, Colorado's statewide snowpack is running well above its season-to-date average. Thanks to an exceptionally snowy few weeks in the mountains, Colorado's season-to-date snowpack is running at about 125 percent of its season-to-date levels.
"Where the snowpack is now, we are in good condition," said Dr. Becky Bolinger, Colorado's assistant state climatologist. "Looking at the snowpack numbers, we could even have below average snowpack numbers for the rest of the season and still have a shot at ending at near-average peaks."
Thanks to a relentless parade of Pacific storms, some parts of the mountains have seen as much as 100 inches of snow over the last three weeks.
While that's also boosting avalanche danger, it's good news for a wide variety of reasons, ranging from helping the ski tourism industry to replenishing reservoirs this spring to mitigating mountain wildfire danger this summer.
"(Good snowpack is) going to be really important at mitigating the wildfire risk in our mountain forests in summer, which is typically our peak for wildfire season (there)," Dr. Bolinger said. "If we continue with the snowpack that we’ve had, that could be good news at mitigating wildfire risk in June."
In the meantime, though, there's not much in the way of meaningful snow on the way for the mountains or anywhere in the state, for that matter. A weak system on Friday may bring some minor snow accumulations to the northern mountains and perhaps a few Front Range flurries.
However, most of the state will likely stay snow-free until next week. But after our recent run of prolific mountain snow, we can afford a bit of a hiatus.
SUGGESTED VIDEOS: Science & Weather