updated 2/7/2006 12:43:26 PM ET 2006-02-07T17:43:26

Town manager Ann Capela said her 4-foot fence and a neighbor's pickup have disappeared and the headstones in the cemetery are buried under snow that's reached 150 percent of the 30 year average.

The flags atop 1,900 4-foot fire hydrants are also buried in nearby Frisco and Dillon, making it impossible for firefighters to find them, prompting a plea for residents to "adopt a hydrant" to keep it clear of snow. Gas meters are also buried by snow.

"They can fail to function properly, which can lead to a fire or explosion," said Jeff Berino, chief of the Lake Dillon Fire Authority, which serves both towns.

"We can't find the fire hydrants but the skiing is great," he said last week.

Besides the Summit County towns, Park and Grand counties have 1 1/2 times the normal amount of snow they get in a normal year with the snowiest seasons of March and April still to come, said National Weather Service meteorologist Jim Kalina.

The roof of at least one commercial building has collapsed and engineers are worried about at least two more, Berino said.

With snow piled up as high as street signs, and piles blocking the driveways along streets, Minturn is running out of places to dump snow.

"We're running out of room," Capela said.

The town's two major dumping areas were full as of Friday, prompting the town to open a third.

Summit County water commissioner Scott Hummer last week also raised the possibility that the snow could cause flooding when it melts.

Problems aside, water utilities along the Front Range said the deepening snowpack in the north-central Colorado mountains means supplies are up and some reservoirs could fill for the first time since a major drought started in 1999.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Discussion comments