Colorado’s snowpack remains at unusually high levels, and with spring turning into summer — we hope — it could have big impacts on outdoors enthusiasts’ plans.
As of mid-May, statewide snowpack remained at an extraordinary 155 percent of season-to-date levels. In parts of southwest Colorado, snowpack is over 200 percent of average — meaning snow levels there are more than twice what they typically are at this point of the season.
The median snow-water equivalent level, meaning a measure of how much water remains in the snow, is at 162 percent of average. That’s enough snow to put current levels in the 86th percentile of the 1981-2010 average, and the highest statewide levels overall since 2011.
While the snow should begin its rapid melt in the next few weeks, snowpack levels this high will likely take several weeks, if not months, to entirely melt. In previous years with similar snowpack levels, the snow has typically stuck around deep into the summer season.
For high elevation hikers in particular, things could be a bit more challenging, especially during the earlier portion of the summer season. Most of Colorado’s 53 fourteeners remain covered in several feet of snow, according to recent reports from popular hiking website 14ers.com. That fact is unlikely to change anytime soon.
For more on this story, go to denverpost.com.