Rocky Mountain National Park (CO)
Park Buried Under Many Feet of Snow
The Beaver Meadows VC reopened on Thursday, but all roads within the park were still closed due to the extraordinary amounts of snow that fell on the park this week. Additional time was needed to plow roads and clean shoulders. Wildlife, stressed by the heavy snowfall, were reportedly also using the roads for travel. At least four feet of snow fell at the visitor center, elevation 7,840 feet, but the really breathtaking snowfall occurred a bit higher up – eight feet of snow at the Bear Lake trailhead, elevation 9,475 feet. Extreme avalanche conditions are reported in the backcountry.
[Submitted by Kyle Patterson, PIO]
CODY (AP) -- An apparent flash flood triggered by recent warm weather submerged 45 vehicles, three trailer homes and other equipment under up to 8 feet of water in Grand Teton National Park.
"We've been storing various things there for the last 30 years and never so much as a deep puddle of water was a problem during the spring run-off," park spokeswoman Jackie Skaggs said. "We've never had anything remotely like this happen before."
The flooded area, known as the Blacktail storage site, is an old pit created in 1963 during construction of Highway 89/191. It is about 8 miles north of Jackson near the airport.
The Colorado Avalanche Information Center warned that avalanche danger along the Front Range was extreme, including in Rocky Mountain National Park where 8.5 feet of snow fell.
About 300 skiers stranded since Tuesday at a ski area outside Boulder after an avalanche blocked the road began to leave Thursday afternoon after state and county crews cleared the road that was shut by an avalanche.
Helicopters earlier dropped food and medical supplies to the skiers, stayed at a lodge, and highway crews used charges to set off slides to decrease the avalanche danger that prevented rescuers from skiing in.
The massive snowfall brought much-needed moisture to a state entering its fourth year of drought. The snowpack in the Colorado Rockies, which provides the bulk of the water supply to the state's population center along the Front Range, went from inadequate to near or above 100 percent of average.
Eight students and their leader from Iowa State University, who had started on a winter camping sojourn Sunday, were finally rescued safely from Rocky Mountain National Park on Thursday afternoon. The group was trapped by about six feet of snow at their campsite.
"It was a close call," park spokeswoman Kyle Patterson said.
Also freed were 250 skiers trapped for two days in the Eldora ski resort after an avalanche closed the road there.
The snowpack in the South Platte basin, for example, is now at 104 percent of normal, officials said, and some in Aurora think this snow may be enough to allow residents to water their lawns this summer.
The storm dropped more snow in Denver than had been seen in any single snowstorm since 1913. Sections of Boulder and Jefferson counties were walloped with 60 to 70 inches of snow.
The National Weather Service said every 10 inches of snow from the storm was delivering about an inch of water, making it unusually wet. That melting trickle will turn into veritable rivers in some roadways as weekend temperatures rise into the 50s.