Friday, February 17, 2012

Bad News For Colorado But Good News For Las Vegas

From the Denver Post: Two deaths in the backcountry this week and a surge in skier-involved avalanches have prodded the Colorado Avalanche Information Center to issue a "special advisory statement" warning backcountry travelers of the likelihood of large and dangerous avalanches across the state.
"Do not let the upcoming holiday weekend or the nice weather in any way fool you into thinking the avalanche conditions are anything but very serious across Colorado," reads the center's statement issued early Friday.
A Keystone ski patroller was killed Thursday in an avalanche near Wolf Creek Pass, becoming the sixth avalanche fatality in a season of sketchy snowpack. A longtime Telluride local snowboarder was killed in an avalanche on Monday in the Bear Creek drainage just outside Telluride ski area.
Seven people were swept into avalanches across Colorado this week, with two seriously injured in slides outside the Vail ski area. Colorado Avalanche Information Center forecasters report three skier-triggered avalanches this week in the area beyond Vail ski area known as Mushroom Bowl. Rescuers on Thursday evacuated a skier who was seriously injured in a slide in Mushroom Bowl and on Monday a skier broke several ribs and collapsed a lung after getting caught in a slide there.
"We have to go back 30 years to see this kind of widespread danger," said Dale Atkins , the president of the American Avalanche Association who worked 20 years as a forecaster for the Colorado Avalanche Information Center. "It's dangerous inside ski areas, outside ski areas. A lot of folks who have only been here two, five, 10 years haven't ever seen or experienced a snowpack like this."
The abundant snowfall in the last two weeks has piled atop a very weak foundation. High winds have built slabs on the older layers, which have created an unstable snowpack.
The more snow that falls in the Rockies, the better news for Las Vegas.  The snow will eventually melt and make it's way into Lake Mead, the main water source for Las Vegas water.  Hopefully, the lake will raise many more feet and become close to full.  The lake has gone up about 40 feet this year and has allowed more boat launches open.  Areas that used to be mud and dirt now have water on them, especially in the northern area of Lake Mead.  And the best part of more snow melt entering Lake Mead, then the water district will halt their pursuit of ground water in Northern counties of Nevada.  The water district, when they are not burning down forests, want to build a large pipeline from northern Nevada, using water from ranches they have bought and sending that down the pipeline to Las Vegas.  It's a stupid idea and hopefully the rising lake will stop this stupid idea.
So, hopefully it will keep on snowing in Colorado and other areas of the Rockies so us greedy Las Vegans can use the water.

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