Mountain Snowpack

Your Evening News - December 18th, 2014

22 hours ago

Nebraska & Oklahoma Sue Colorado Over Pot Legalization

The Attorney Generals of two neighboring states are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down Colorado’s legalization of recreational pot. Nebraska and Oklahoma have filed a lawsuit stating Colorado's Amendment 64 and implementation is unconstitutional under the U.S. Constitution. Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning says Federal law prohibits the production and sale of marijuana. At the same time, he says Nebraska taxpayers are paying for an increase in marijuana-related arrests.

“It’s frustrating to have a sister state reaping tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue and sending the problem side of it to us.”

In a statement, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said he’ll defend the state's legalization of marijuana. He says he believes the lawsuit is without merit and that the primary grievance stems from non-enforcement of federal laws regarding marijuana instead of the choices made by Colorado voters.

Defense attorneys in the Nancy Pfister case are digging through lots of evidence.

Spring snow showers have boosted snowpack to above-average levels and forecasts are calling for high river flows this spring.

A Western Slope lawmaker is proposing Colorado get its own firefighting fleet of airplanes and helicopters.

And, wildfire is on the minds of local officials who are planning ahead after devastating fires in recent years, on the Front Range.

Suicide is getting attention in the Aspen community, after several deaths this winter.

And, we have some fun with what could be the Upper Valley’s first home inspired hybrid.

Elise Thatcher

The winter outlook is mixed. Although some are saying the wet fall could mean lots of snow in the coming months, a National Weather Service forecaster says there might also be some dry spells. Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher talks with GJ National Weather Service forecaster Joe Ramey. He says this winter might be very familiar.

Aspen Public Radio became a bit more digital this week. We posted our first story told through video of the 40th anniversary of the Snowmass Rodeo. It’s part of the station’s multi-media expansion.

With oil and gas in the news pretty much all the time in Colorado, we take a look at lessons learned from one of the hot spots in Western Colorado some years ago.

We continue our Work the Valley series with a look at a forest service employee who designs plans to make towers, power lines and fences blend in with nature.

And, we’ll take a trip to Summit County where an act of Congress could open up more land for affordable housing. Just like the Roaring Fork Valley, it’s a pricey area where free market homes are often out of reach.

We talk to the Chief Scientist for The Nature Conservancy. M. Sanjayan talks about mega-fires and disappearing snowpack.

Study: River Forecasting in Rockies Needs Dusting

Aug 1, 2013
NASA

Snow in the Upper Colorado River Basin provides water for seven states.  Farmers, factories, and families alike depend on this water, and a considerable amount of effort goes into understanding and forecasting how much melt is going to come from the snowpack, and when.  

Digging for Dust Data

Jun 11, 2013
Center for Snow and Avalanche Studies

If you’ve ventured out on a hot day wearing dark clothing you know that within a short time you're soaked with sweat. Similarly, when a blanket of dust settles on snow, it acts the same way - the snow sweats or melts. The result is a rapid melting of snow.  Aspen Public Radio’s Science Reporter Ellis Robinson has more.
 

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

A group of scientists are flying over mountains in California and Colorado this spring, measuring snowpack with high-tech gadgets. NASA’s Airborne Snow Observatory mission started last month over the Sierra Nevadas and Southwestern Colorado’s Uncompahgre River Basin. The idea is to measure the snow in a way that’s never been done before, to get an idea of how much water is stored there. Snowpack accounts for 75 % of the Western United States’ freshwater supply. And, as demands for water grow, scientists are working on solutions.