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January 17, 2013
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Summit County forecast snowless through next week

Another dry spell is settling over Summit County this week, filling the forecast with sunny skies and temperatures in the 30s through the holiday weekend.

Summit County is expected to see highs in the mid-30s every day through Monday without even the slightest chance of snow before Martin Luther King Day, according to forecasts from the National Weather Service.

"The main story over the next week will be the sunny skies above and the inversions below," meteorologist and weather blogger Joel Gratz posted on OpenSnow.com Thursday.

Some weather watchers are looking forward to a possible shift toward snowier weather at the end of the month, but forecasts are still uncertain as to the timing or amount of any pending snowfall.

A cold snap that lingered over the county last weekend plunged temperatures into the double digits below zero at night, but did produce modest amounts of snow for local ski areas.

On Thursday, Breckenridge Ski Resort and Copper Mountain both reported 5 inches of snow in the last week. Keystone Resort was claiming 6 inches of new snow in the past seven days on Thursday, while Arapahoe Basin Ski Area reported 3 inches in the previous three days.

But without snow in the forecast, the snowpack built up during December's storms is again falling behind average.

The Blue River Basin snowpack is now a mere 53 percent of average - meaning the Summit County area currently has only half as much snow as is normal for this time of the year - and the Colorado River Basin is sitting at 63 percent of average.

The National Drought Monitor continues to classify conditions in Summit County as a severe drought.

"People must acknowledge that we are in the midst of an extreme drought, with slim prospects for improvement in the near term," stated Troy Wineland, Division of Water Resources water commissioner for the Blue River Basin. "I want to share my concern for the consequences that back-to-back low snowpack seasons may bring about this summer."

Dillon Reservoir, a primary water source for Denver and a key economic engine for Summit County in the summer, is currently sitting at 69 percent of its total capacity. Without precipitation, the water level will continue to drop, Wineland said.

State water experts have said Colorado needs a better-than-average snow year this winter to alleviate drought conditions.


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The Summit Daily Updated Jan 18, 2013 07:13PM Published Jan 17, 2013 10:11PM Copyright 2013 The Summit Daily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.