NASA studying snowfall on Grand Mesa

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GRAND MESA, Colo. (KJCT)-- It’s been an impressive winter for the Grand Mesa, which has seen more than 276 inches of fresh powder.

"We have a better snow pack right now then we've had in about 20 or 25 years," said Luke Dobbs, who leads adventure trips at Mesa Lakes Lodge.

In January, Dobbs said the lodge got 115 inches of snow.

"I pray for snow all the time, but after a while when you have to shovel so much of it you're like give us a break, settle a little bit and quit snowing for a day or two," said Dobbs.

His theory is since the Mesa hasn't had many sunny days the snow is sticking around longer than usual.

"It’s more fun to play in it than work in it," said Dobbs.

Dobbs said Mesa Lake’s Lodge is full, but not with tourists.

For the next two-weeks, scientists with NASA are using the lodge while performing research on top of the flat topped mountain.

"We try to understand which technique is best to estimate the amount of water that will be discharged in rivers in the spring and summer time," said NASA scientist Ludovic Brucker.

The scientists are using five planes and eight different instruments to study the composition of snowflakes. They’re hoping to learn more about how moisture in the snow will impact the Colorado River.

They will then use the information to create satellites that can monitor water, both for drinking and agricultural purposes.

The scientists said they were surprised to see so much snow.

"It’s good. It's better than a low year. It makes some of our measurements challenging, but we know how to deal with it," said Brucker.

Dobbs said if the snow keeps falling into the spring, the Mesa could see as much as 500 inches, which is good news for what looks like a distant summer.

"I enjoy going out and camping. I enjoy having a campfire, and I enjoy having my woods stay green all summer long, so this snow is a blessing,” said Dobbs.

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