Heavy snowstorms and cooler temperatures helped boost Colorado's statewide snowpack to 74 percent of average in March — almost double the levels at this time last year.

Snow surveys showed that Colorado's snowpack increased 1 percentage point from March 1 to April 1, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

That marks the third consecutive month that Colorado's snowpack jumped by a percentage point.

While there is little chance of reaching normal levels this season, snowpack in most areas hasn't begun melting yet and in many areas continues to gather snow, assistant snow survey supervisor Mage Hultstrand said.

"At this time last year, we had reached our peak snowpack for the year and the snowpack had already started to melt," she said.

Typically, snowpack peaks and begins melting around April 8.

For the past 10 years, snowpack has begun melting earlier each season, said Brian Werner, spokesman for Northern Water, which helps provide water to 33 cities and towns in northeast Colorado.

By mid-March last year, snowpack in several areas was completely gone.

"In our business we like slow, steady melt outs," Werner said.

Rapid and early snow melts often make it difficult to capture and store runoff.

All major basins in Colorado are expected to see below average runoff this spring and summer, according to the conservation service.

Reservoir levels in the state also remain below normal. As of April 1, average reservoir levels are at 71 percent of normal, 5 percentage points higher than this time last year.


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Jordan Steffen: 303-954-1794, jsteffen@denverpost.com or twitter.com/jsteffendp