Storm packs basin with still more moisture |

Storm packs basin with still more moisture

SUMMIT COUNTY – Blue River Basin Water Commissioner Scott Hummer, who’s been singing the drought blues for more than a year, was laughing Thursday.

“The amount of water in the snow just amazed me,” said Hummer, who drove up to Montezuma Thursday afternoon and tromped around in the new snow near the Deer Creek trail parking lot.

Snowplows had piled snow 7 feet high on the sides of the lot, he said. In Montezuma itself, Hummer looked for two houses he normally sees when driving on the Main Street.

“You can’t even see them,” he said. “It blew me away. I have a picture in my office of Montezuma on June 5, 1995, during the big snow year, and that’s what it reminded me of. The locals there are in awe at what happened in this 24-hour period.

“That’s what it looks like in the upper Snake River basin, if that’s any indication of the rest of of the county.”

State-established sites throughout the county that measure snowfall are all clocking in at just under or significantly above average. On Thursday, snowpack at Copper Mountain measured 131 percent of average; at Hoosier Pass, 99 percent; and at Summit Ranch north of Silverthorne, 143 percent.

That’s a far cry from conditions a year ago, when Copper’s snowpack measured 66 percent of average, Hoosier’s 45 percent, and Summit Ranch’s 17 percent.

Denver Water officials predict Dillon Reservoir – now less than half full – could reach capacity this summer if conditions are wetter than normal between now and July 1. The long-range forecast for the state currently calls for above-average precipitation through May 8.

“We’re on that track, but it’s still a long time until July 1,” said Hummer.

Summit County Commissioner Tom Long said everyone – even those who are thirsty for summer – should keep in mind that moisture-dense dumps like Wednesday’s are manna from heaven for the earth.

“We still need it,” he said. “I’m as tired of shoveling snow as the next person, but if we can get some water back in our reservoirs and streams, that will be a good thing.”

Jane Reuter can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 229, or by e-mail at

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