Colorado snowpack has flatlined this month
January has been rather uneventful in the snow department across Colorado. The mountains have been missing out on much-needed snowfall, during what is typically an active month for the high country.
Aside from the Sangre de Cristo Mountains cashing in on a beneficial storm track in southern Colorado, the rest of the state has been far below normal.
This has driven the statewide snowpack to its slowest start since 2018. It is also getting uncomfortably close to the minimum set in 2002.
Much of central and western Colorado has seen less than 25% of the typical month-to-date precipitation. In many mountain areas, this equates to several feet of snow that have been missing this month, and a snowpack that has largely flatlined.
Statewide snowpack currently sits around 73% of the long-term average. The current value is also getting inflated by the Upper Rio Grande river basin. This area roughly bound by an Alamosa-Salida-Silverton triangle is running close to normal when it comes to snowpack. Most of the other regions across the state are now less than 70% of normal.
Aside from delighting the Colorado ski resorts, a deep mountain snowpack is very important for the summer water supply.
Peak snowpack typically gets reached during the first week of April. By mid-April, the spring melt tends to ramp up quickly.
Given the current numbers, Colorado needs at least 133% of average snowfall for the rest of the season to reach a normal early April peak.
In the Denver area, this snow-starved January is not as much of a rarity. January is one of the driest months of the year for the Interstate 25 corridor and the Plains. A widespread snow event early in the month was enough to keep January precipitation more respectable in eastern Colorado, when compared to normal.
Signs are still pointing toward a more active weather pattern to close out the month. Several snow events could take aim at the state over the next 10 days. Hopefully, this marks the beginning of a beneficial turnaround when it comes to snowfall.
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