Southeast Plains brace for snow; Front Range commute may be slow |

Southeast Plains brace for snow; Front Range commute may be slow


DENVER ” Forecasters say a potent winter storm could drop up to 7 inches of snow in southeastern Colorado before heading out of the state later Tuesday.

A winter storm warning was issued for much of the southeastern corner of Colorado and for the mountains.

Commuters in Front Range cities were warned to expect a messy drive to work Tuesday with up to 5 inches of overnight snow in the forecast for Colorado Springs and 3 inches for Denver.

It was the latest blast from a prodigious winter that’s already given skiers plenty of snow to enjoy and farmers and ranchers reasons to be optimistic about spring.

The Wolf Creek ski resort reported 31 inches of new snow on Monday and a base depth of nearly 13 feet. Purgatory reported 18 inches of new snow while Snowmass and Crested Butte reported 16 inches each.

The statewide snowpack was 134 percent of average on Monday, promising above-average spring runoff in many parts of Colorado.

The Rio Grande watershed in southern Colorado has the best snow in 29 years with mountain snowpack nearly double the 30-year average, the U.S. Agriculture Department’s Natural Resources Conservation Service said.

“With the current snowpack we have in some of these basins, we are already guaranteed an above-average runoff,” said Allen Green, state conservationist with the NRCS.

Mountain snowpack is closely watched by farmers, ranchers and utility officials because the spring runoff supplies much of the state’s water.

Statewide, the snowpack was 134 percent of average on Monday, ranging from a low of 100 percent of the 30-year average in the South Platte Basin to a high of 178 percent in the Rio Grande Basin.

The North Platte Basin was at 103 percent, the Yampa and White River 110 percent, Colorado River 127 percent, Gunnison 152 percent, Arkansas 165 percent and San Miguel, Dolores, Animas and San Juan 167 percent.

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