(COLORADO SPRINGS)— Spring snowmelt is in full swing across Colorado’s high country, causing huge sinkholes along with road damage and closures.

Paonia is one of the areas seeing extensive damage from snowpack melting off in the mountains and creating gaping sinkholes.

Check out these pictures on CO 133 just north of Paonia from The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), where the Highway is still closed in both directions.

Click here for a closer look at closures in this area and detour options via I-70, US-50, and CO 92.

Colorado has seen higher-than-average snowpack this winter, which is leading to rivers swelling up as snowmelt continues in the mountains.

Colorado snow-covered mountains

Snowpack is still running high across most of the state, despite already passing our average peak. That means more high-elevation snow is waiting to melt off and we will likely continue to see high water flows in June.

In the graph below, the green line highlights Colorado’s average snowpack, which typically peaks on April 8. The black lines show where the snowpack sits now, around 125% of normal.

Both the Southwest and Gunnison River Basins are at double the average snowpack for this time of year. The western half of Colorado is seeing creeks and rivers running higher than normal as a result.

Reservoir storage across Colorado has been improving, with statewide storage at 87% of the median for the month of May.

In addition to developing sinkholes, mudslides, and rockfalls have been common this spring as heavy rains have been loosening soils and causing high runoff.

Water levels are also surging across the Front Range and eastern plains after a wet May. Spring rains have been chipping away at drought but have also caused problems on waterways.

  • Rescue workers support a black dog at the end of a fire truck ladder
  • CSFD swift water rescue Monument Creek
  • Rescue workers use stretcher to carry dog up firetruck ladder

Click here to see streamflows across Colorado rivers to help you plan what to expect.

With Memorial Day Weekend kicking off the official start of summer, it’s also National Safe Boating Week on May 20-26.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife says last year was the deadliest year on Colorado waters, with 42 water-related deaths in 2022. This number climbed from 22 deaths in 2021 and 34 in 2020.

CPW urges always wearing a life jacket on the water, especially during late spring and early summer as water levels run high.