Storm drops 2 feet of snow in Colorado mountains

DENVER — While northwest Colorado has been getting socked with snow, the eastern plains are still thirsting for moisture.

Forecasters say this is just the beginning of what could be a two-year La Nina cycle, when the second year is often drier than the first. If that pans out, that could pose problems for farmers already hurting for rain and snow cover this winter.

Still, water planners say it’s too early to be optimistic or pessimistic about water supplies, even just for this year. Colorado typically gets most of its snow in March and April.

“If it were a football game, we’d only be in the second quarter,” said Bob Steger, raw water supply manager for Denver Water.

A weekend storm closed U.S. 6 over Loveland Pass and U.S. 40 over Berthoud Pass on Monday, and both were still closed this afternoon. A stretch of Interstate 70 between Georgetown and Silverthorne reopened this morning after being closed overnight.

Breckenridge Ski Resort, where at least one trail sign was halfway covered in a snowdrift today, reported 26 inches of new snow in the past 24 hours.

Wind gusts reached 90 mph overnight at the highest elevations above the tree line, the Colorado Avalanche Information Center said. The center warned of high avalanche danger in north central Colorado, including Vail, Winter Park and Estes Park.

The storm helped boost the statewide snowpack to 125 percent of the 30-year average Tuesday, but the Upper Rio Grande and Arkansas river basins in southern Colorado are below average, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service.



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