From todays Denver paper:
Many areas along the Continental Divide received as much as one third of their annual average snowfall during last week's three-day dump, said Klaus Wolter, an atmospheric scientist with the Climate Diagnostic Center in Boulder.
As a result, both the South Platte and Arkansas basins now have a deeper snowpack than normal, or almost twice the amount of a year ago. On Thursday, the National Drought Mitigation Center changed its drought classification for the South Platte basin from severe to moderate for the first time since last April.
Some estimates project that a near-normal snowpack would only bring these reservoirs up to 70 percent to 75 percent of capacity after the spring runoff.
That situation may improve if the eastern half of Colorado continues to receive greater-than-normal moisture due to the influence of El Nino for the next two months, as Wolter's latest forecast predicts.
Still, the recent storms have done little to help the southwestern part of the state, which now appears headed into a fourth summer of drought. Climate factors have reduced the likelihood of a wet spring in the San Juans and New Mexico, setting the region up for a third straight summer of dry conditions, Wolter said.
Meanwhile, officials at Arapahoe Basin ski area took advantage of the windfall to take out a tongue-in-cheek classified advertisement in the Summit Daily News on Thursday offering a slightly used snowmaking system that the resort installed just last summer.
"No longer needed. $2m/obo. Must pick up. Call Arapahoe Basin," reads the ad, which refers callers to a phone message that explains the joke and details the resort's snow conditions.
Located high near the Continental Divide, A-Basin has been buried under more than 27 feet of snow this winter and expects another 80 inches or so through May, based on historical averages, said spokeswoman Leigh Hierholzer.
"We've already received more than we got the entire season last year or the year before. The last time we got this much snow was '96-97," she said. "It's ironic that the year we put in a snowmaking system, we don't need it at all."