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At Winter's Midway, Colorado Snowpack Is Right Around Average

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Snowpack around Arapahoe Basin in January 2015.

It's midway through the winter, and Colorado's snowpack is in a Goldilocks situation. Not too much, not too little.

According to state climatologist Nolan Doesken, most basins are sitting right around average.

"No part of the state is desperately below average, no part of the state is above average," he said. The Colorado River headwaters are at about average. "Those with the lowest snowpack are the Yampa-White, in the northwestern part of the state, and the Rio Grande, in the south."

This is true even despite record-breaking warmth hitting parts of the state in the past two days; Fort Collins shattered its temperature record for the month of January, hitting 75 degrees on January 26.

'You are rightfully feeling a sense of uneasiness when the temperature starts shooting up to 70 degrees in January, that happens hardly ever, but so far -- so far, we're OK," said Doesken.

In fact, the warmth may signal an early transition to the spring season, when Colorado often gets pounded by snowstorms.

"Not getting many storms is sort of common for midwinter, but then…when you flip the switch from midwinter to spring as imminent, then we become distinctly more favored again to be in the path of some of these storms."

Doesken also noted that current weather patterns look a lot like an El Niño. That usually means the southern part of the state will get more moisture coming across from California.

Stephanie Paige Ogburn has been reporting from Colorado for more than five years, primarily from the Western Slope.
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