Snow Pack Falling Short This Season

By: James Hopkins Email
By: James Hopkins Email

Grand Junction has seen its fair share of snow already this winter but the rest of the state is not doing as well. Many regions are way behind in terms of snow-pack.

Grand Junction had near record snow fall at the beginning of the season and the last storm, dumped up to 60 inches of snow is some areas of the San Juan mountains. The central and northern mountains only received a fraction of that. "Everything around Denver is kinda iffy right now, "A" basin is still in the 20's I think," says Dakota Anderson. Dakota works at the Board and Buckle and is an avid skier. He sees a lot of skiers turning south this season. "There is a lot of people going to Telluride and Durango instead," says Anderson. Even skiers like Jon Winn, who has a house in Summit county and skis all over the state, is staying right here this winter. "The best skiing in the state is right here in the western part," says Winn. Winn's son, who lives back in Summit county, even comes here to ski at powderhorn. "He said gosh you guys just got all the snow," says Winn.

The majority of the storms this winter have favored the south west mountain ranges leaving the rest of the state wanting. "The central mountains are around 80% of snow pack and the northern mountains tend to be 70–75 percent of normal," says Brian Lawrence of the National Weather Service. Weather patterns, like the ones we are seeing this winter, are typical of an El Nino pattern. The sub–tropical jet, which normally tracks right through Colorado, pushes to the south. "Bringing quite a bit of precipitation to the southern mountains, while the northern mountains miss out on a lot of the action," says Lawrence.

This pattern, not only benefits the Grand Valley when it comes to skiing in the winter , but also this coming spring. "So far we're looking pretty good, kinda running along average, we're at about 94%," says Bret Guillory. Guillory is the Grand Junction Utility Engineer and his job is to keep a close eye on the city's water supply. While the rest of the state is relatively dry, it's a different story on the western slope. "The city of Grand Junction's water shed is very healthy," says Guillory.

Even though the snow pack in the central and northern mountains are behind schedule, it is still early. "During the spring, we start getting a lot more moisture, storm systems that do track across us do have more moisture to work with and produce more precipitation," says Lawrence. The sub–tropical jet will start to move further north, bringing much needed snow to the rest of the state.

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