Arizona dust storm blankets mountain snowpack

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From the Gunnison Country Times “The vast swaths of desert landscape to the west and southwest of here provides plenty of surface area for a low pressure system to pick up tiny dust particles, suspend them into the atmosphere and transport them to the Colorado high country, Crowley explained. Friday’s event — which turned skies an eerie shade of red, reduced visibility in some towns to next to nothing and, combined with moisture, in some cases made it literally ‘raining mud,’ according to Crowley — wasn’t the first dust storm of the year. But it definitely was the biggest. Some longtime weather watchers called Friday’s dust storm ‘the worst they’d ever witnessed,’ according to Chris Landry, who closely monitors ‘dust on snow’ events for the Center for Snow and Avalanche Studies in Silverton…

“Pure white snow reflects the sun to a much greater extent than dirty snow does. The less reflection, the more solar radiation the snowpack absorbs; thus, the faster it melts. In 2006, snow melt timing was advanced anywhere from four to six weeks due to large dust storm events then, according to Landry. This year is shaping up to be even dustier.”

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

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