Recent moisture in valley adds to snowpack

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The rain that has soaked the valley this week has added to the precious snowpack on the Continental Divide.

A few selected snowpack measuring sites across the region are adding to the water storage this week, but most of them are above 10,000 feet. The snowpack has begun to decline at lower elevations.

Vance Fulton of the Natural Resource Conservation Service had it pegged on April 1.

"Tower (at the summit of Buffalo Pass) is one of the few sites that actually gains snowpack in April," Fulton said. "The rest all start to decline."

Tower sits at 10,500 feet, and on Friday, remote sensing devices reported the snowpack there contained 45.7 inches of water. That's 91 percent of average, which is 50 inches.

By comparison, the Tower site measured 42.98 inches of water April 1.

Farther to the south, in the Flat Tops, snowpack at Ripple Creek Pass totaled 25.3 inches, or 99 percent of average.

Closer to home, the measuring site on Rabbit Ears Pass is at 9,400 feet. But it, too, has been adding snowpack since the first of the month.

The moisture stored on Rabbit Ears is 25.5 inches, 86 percent of the average 29.6 inches. On April 1, Rabbit Ears stood at 22.1 inches of water.

Below 9,000 feet, snowpack measuring sites are giving in to the thaw. The Elk River site, at 8,700 feet, contained 16.7 inches of water March 25. It was down to 15.3 inches Friday.

-- To reach Tom Ross call 871-4205

or e-mail tross@steamboatpilot.com

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