Colorado’s early above-average snowpack not enough to melt drought worries

Early winter storms that have blanketed the state this year have delivered snowpacks that are nearly 90 percent higher than they were last year at this time, a startling statistic given Colorado’s ongoing battle with a drought that just can’t seem to call it quits.

Statewide, as of Monday, snowpack stood at 118 percent of normal, up from 63 percent at the same time last year, an 87 percent jump in the benchmark, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Lakewood.

Snowpack readings in the South Platte Basin, which includes Boulder, Larimer and Weld counties, as well as the Denver metro area and most of the northern Front Range, stood at 140 percent of average, up from 80 percent last year, according to the NRCS.

And the Arkansas Basin, stretching from Leadville down to the southeastern corner of the state, stood at 148 percent of average, up from 63 percent last year.

“It’s a much better start,” said Brian Domonkos, snow survey supervisor for the NRCS. “However, it’s very early in the year. And as dry as it was last year, it would be good to have a little more. We definitely want to make up for last year’s deficits.”

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