Colorado: Snowpack records set in northern mountains

Northern Colorado experienced banner snowfall during the winter, leading to projections for healthy runoff.

The spring snowpack across northern Colorado continued to grow during April, with the automated Tower SNOTEL site, near Buffalo Pass in the Park Range, setting an all-time record for water equivalent. As of May 1, the sensors at the Tower site measured 200 inches of snow on the ground, which would melt out to 72.6 inches of water, surpassing the previous record of 71.1 inches set back in 1978.

Tower SNOTEL site busts a mark set in 1978
A rotary plow and dumptruck work in tandem in Frisco, Colorado to clear snow from downtown in this file photo from December 2010.

According to Natural Resources Conservation Service, that measurement also sets an all-time state record for total snowpack at any individual site in Colorado. Record snowpack levels were also recored at other sites around the Yampa, Colorado and the North and South Platte river basins.

“Even many of the old-timers have never seen some of the depths measured across northern Colorado this month”, said NRCS state conservationist Allen Green.

Basin Snowpack
% of Average
% of Last Year
Reservoir Storage
% of Average
Reservoir Storage
% of Last Year
Gunnison 139 195 111 86
Colorado 151 222 107 93
South Platte 150 186 98 92
North Platte 165 198
Yampa/White 165 225 102 88
Arkansas 112 126 86 79
Rio Grande 72 80 79 88
San Miguel, Dolores, Animas & San Juan 93 121 109 109
Statewide 135 175 101 91

Other sites across the northern tier of the state saw long-time records fall. For example the snow course on Cameron Pass, west of Fort Collins, shattered the old record this month with 48.0 inches of water content. Lots more to read: click here

PHOTOS COURTESY of Bob Berwyn, Summit Voice