April showers bring May flowers and full reservoirs | SummitDaily.com

April showers bring May flowers and full reservoirs

BOB BERWYNsummit daily newsSummit County, CO Colorado
Summit Daily/Bob Berwyn A clump of pasque flowers (Anemone patens) blooms along the Oro Grande trail May 3. Named after the Latin word for Easter because it often blooms around that time of year, the pasque flower is well-adapted to the rugged tundra . Fuzzy hairs coat the entire plant, providing insulation, and the red color visible in the stems comes from anthocyanin, a naturally ocurring antifreeze. Pasque flowers are native to North America and Eurasia, growing commonly on south-facing slopes from Alaska southward.

SUMMIT COUNTY – April ended up being the snowiest month of the winter season, according to weather watcher Rick Bly, who tallies snowfall stats for the National Weather Service at his backyard weather station.Bly measured 38.5 inches of the white stuff last month (average, 24.7 inches), just inching out October, which saw 36.8 inches of snow.”We had bookends to the winter,” Bly said. The snow melted down to 3.32 inches of water, also well above the average April precipitation of 2.1 inches. In fact, the April 2007 amount was more than the combined 2006 April to June total of 2.61 inches.

For the winter (Oct.- April), Bly measured 192 inches of snow, 42 inches above the historic average based on records going back more than 100 years.In average May, Breckenridge can expect 11 inches of snow. As recently as 1995, the month brought dumps totaling 25 inches, but the record dates way back to 1895, with 43.9 inches.At the second National Weather Service site in Summit County, Denver Water officials recorded 22 inches of snow (average 18.2 inches.Temperatures at the Dillon site were slightly above the historic average based on records dating back to 1909. That continues a month to month and year to year trend of warmer temperatures at the station near Dillon Reservoir.The average April high, combining daily high temps, was 48.2 degrees (normal 47.7 degrees) and the average minimum temperature was 19.6 degrees (normal 18.2 degrees).

Overnight lows dropped into the single digits four times in the middle of the month and dipped below freezing all but once. Daily highs ranged from 23 degrees on April 11 to 68 degrees on the very last day of April.Despite the good April snowfall, statewide snowpack levels are not exactly impressive, with the Blue River Basin being one of the exceptions at about 95 percent of average, according to Natural Resource Soil Conservation snow survey director Mike Gillespie.Statewide, the snowpack was at about 64 percent of average as of May 2.The Yampa and White River basin was the lowest, at 44 percent. The South Platte was the only basin reporting an above-normal snowpack on May 2, at 101 percent. The Colorado River Basin was at 65 percent.Denver Water is still calling for near normal runoff in the Blue River basin and expects Dillon Reservoir to fill and spill. Flows out of the reservoir were boosted to 700 cfs May 4 to make room for the peaking runoff. Denver Water managers said the water level the reservoir will drop between one and two feet before the end of May, before it starts to rise with the peak runoff.Bob Berwyn can be reached at (970) 331-5996, or at bberwyn@summitdaily.com.

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