April snow easing drought conditions

10:04 PM, Apr 17, 2013   |    comments
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ESTES PARK - In an average April according to the National Weather Service, the Estes Park area receives approximately 16 inches of snow. So far, with nearly two weeks remaining in April, the area has received 35 inches of snow.

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Because rivers and streams in the Estes Park area provide water for northern Colorado, the April snowfall could go a long way in easing drought conditions.

"This is not March 2003 quite yet, but it is certainly headed in that direction. We had that one storm on St. Patrick's Day of 2003 that saved our bacon for that drought. It brought us out and set us in the right direction and this storm and what they're predicting a couple down the road ... you've got everybody smiling right now," Brian Werner, a spokesperson for Northern Water, said.

Monday's storm dropped a reported 27 inches of snow one mile northeast of Estes Park. The National Weather Service believes another 8 to 16 inches may fall before this most recent storm moves out of the area. While it will not solve the drought conditions created over the last 18 months, it may significantly ease the situation.

"The restrictions that many communities are talking about could possibly be relaxed a little bit, and we're just going to have more water for the farmers potentially to reduce the cost of food because they're going to have an additional shot in the arm for water supply this year, and that helps all of us," Werner said.

The weather has been boosting the snow pack in big amounts. The Colorado Basin is now at 94 percent of normal. Statewide, it's 82 percent.

"We are still in a drought and haven't been full since July 2011. This is our second year in a row of below average snow pack," Denver Water spokesperson Bob Steger said. "Not only do we need our snow to get to normal, but we would need a wet May and June."

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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