#Snowpack news: Early SWE percentages look good for most of #Colorado, sorry SW basins

Click on a thumbnail graphic to view a gallery of snowpack data from the NRCS.

From The Denver Post (Chris Bianchi):

The highest snowpack levels are in northern Colorado, where some areas are more than three times above where they should be for early November. Most of the snowfall came over the past two weeks, as a series of strong and exceptionally cold storm systems moved through the state, dumping feet of snow across the northern mountains. Because most of October’s snow events arrived from the north, Colorado’s northern mountains — the Park, Medicine Bow and Front Ranges — saw the most overall snowfall.

Because of that, though, some parts of southern Colorado are running a tick behind average snowpack levels, as of Friday’s update.

Of course, all of that snow also has ski resorts reporting record snow levels and opening earlier than usual. It’s also has forced the earliest closure of Independence Pass in nearly a decade.

That said, October statewide precipitation — a measure of the overall moisture — was only 82% of average, based on NRCS data. Because colder air can hold less water than warm air, there is typically a correlation between a colder-than-average month and lower precipitation amounts.

That means the majority of the state officially remains in a drought, according to the United States Drought Monitor’s most recent update. More than 80% of the state is considered to be abnormally dry.

After all of the recent snow, though, no significant snowfall appears to be in the near-term forecast. A generally dry pattern will limit snow chances for most of the state over the next week to 10 days.

From The Denver Post (Chris Bianchi):

Denver finished with an official total of 12.5 inches of snowfall last month, making it the city’s snowiest October at Denver International Airport since 2009. However, at the city’s more centrally-located Stapleton Airport observation site, Denver finished with 15.7 inches of snowfall, making it the snowiest October there since 1997. It was also Stapleton’s second-snowiest October in the last 50 years.

Temperature-wise, Denver finished with an average reading of 43.7 degrees over the full month of October, Denver’s fourth-coldest October on record. It was Denver’s coldest October overall since 2009…

Colorado Springs tied its third-coldest October on record, and Pueblo saw its second-coldest. Those were just one of dozens of record cold temperature readings statewide in October.

Westwide basin-filled snowpack map November 4, 2019 via the NRCS.

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