Parched US Southwest gets reprieve as snowmelt fills rivers

  • This Monday, June 10, 2019, photo shows hiker Tony Larsen posing for a photograph at a waterfalls, in the Big Cottonwood canyon, near Salt Lake City. The summer’s melting snowpack is creating raging rivers that are running high, fast and icy cold. The state’s snowpack this winter was about 150 percent higher than the historical average and double the previous year, which was the driest on record dating back to 1874, said Brian McInerney, hydrologist for the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

  • This Tuesday, June 11, 2019, photo shows the raging waters in the Big Cottonwood Creek, near Salt Lake City. The summer’s melting snowpack is creating rivers that are running high, fast and icy cold. The state’s snowpack this winter was about 150 percent higher than the historical average and double the previous year, which was the driest on record dating back to 1874, said Brian McInerney, hydrologist for the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City. Large parts of the Salt Lake City metro area sits near the foothills of the towering Wasatch Range. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

DENVER — A welcome surge of melting snow is pouring out of the Rocky Mountains and into the drought-stricken rivers of the southwestern U.S., fending off a water shortage but threatening to push rivers over their banks.

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