Snowpack news: It’s drying out in southwest Colorado #COdrought

From The Durango Herald (Vanessa Guthrie):

The snowpack in Southwest Colorado – the Animas, Dolores, San Juan, Mancos and San Miguel drainages – was 100 percent of average three weeks ago. As of Tuesday, the snowpack had dropped to 77 percent.

Snowpack has been dissipating throughout the region.

On Jan. 14, Molas Pass snow depth was measured at 41 inches. As of Tuesday, the snow depth was measured at 38 inches. Red Mountain Pass was at 51 inches and dropped to 46, Cascade Creek decreased from 19 to 18 and Wolf Creek Pass dropped from 48 to 46.

Rege Leach, a division engineer with the Colorado Division of Water Resources, said it’s too soon to worry about the consequences of a quick-melting snowpack. Though it’s always good to monitor the numbers, February, March and April remain to compensate for water loss, he said. In the case of a shortage, water supply for irrigation and municipal uses would be affected…

It also helps that water levels in reservoirs in the San Juan and Dolores drainages have remained fairly average, he said.

“We have a good water supply even if we don’t get an average snowpack runoff,” Leach said…

Tom Renwick, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, said the San Juans have been drier than in past years because of the northwestern track storms have been taking. Generally, storms that affect the Durango area come for the southwest, but the recent systems steered northwest, favoring central Colorado, he said.

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