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The storm that rolled across the Boulder area Wednesday night -- dropping 1.26 inches of water by Thursday morning -- was the wettest storm to hit the city since June, according to meteorologist Matt Kelsch.

Boulder residents woke Thursday to 2.9 inches of slushy snow, which fell after the night's rain; and in Nederland, the storm dropped 14 inches of snow.

"It was a good soaker," Kelsch said. "Thunder and lightning and everything."

The wet weather was a much-needed antidote to a spring that has so far been marked by its lack of snow and rain. In March, Boulder got 0.33 inches of precipitation, compared with 2.17 inches in a normal March. The region is about 60 percent behind where it would be in a typical "water year," which starts Oct. 1, Kelsch said.

The storm put Boulder on track for an average April. This month typically brings just more than 3 inches of precipitation, Kelsch said. Halfway through the month, we're a little more than halfway to that total, with 1.69 inches of precipitation.

The parched conditions prompted Sheriff Joe Pelle to put a fire ban in place on March 23. The ban was amended on April 4 to allow agricultural burning in the eastern part of the county, but burning is still prohibited in the foothills and mountains.

While the recent rain and snow was welcomed by the Sheriff's Office, Cmdr. Rick Brough said conditions haven't improved enough to lift the existing burn ban.


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"We can get some moisture like this, but it dries out just like that," Brough said. "The recommendation from our fire manager is to leave things as is. It's supposed to be getting warm and windy again, and we're expecting to be back to the same conditions we've had by Sunday."

The snow and rain was a boon for ongoing mulching efforts in the area burned last September by the Fourmile Fire. Helicopters have been flying over the area for a week, dropping mulch made of both agricultural straw and "wood straw," which is made from scraps leftover from the processing of plywood.

The wood straw tends to stay in place, but the agricultural straw is prone to getting blown around in high winds.

"Getting a snow like this is perfect because it will hold the straw down," said Claire DeLeo, senior resource specialist for Boulder County Parks and Open Space.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Laura Snider at 303-473-1327 or sniderl@dailycamera.com.