Storm Brings Three Feet of New Snow to Sangres

Last week we posted an update on the SNOTEL reports for snowpack in the San Isabel region. Since then portions of the mountains have received 3.9 inches of precipitation, which is probably well over 3 feet of snow.

 

A view of the Sangres from the Riggs Ranch protected by conservation easement.  Last week the Sangres received more than 3 feet of snow

A view of the Sangres from the Riggs Ranch which is protected by a conservation easement.  Last week the Sangres received more than 3 feet of snow.

The South Colony site near Westcliffe saw its snowpack increase from 72% on February 24 to 90% on March 5. The other three sites reported similar increases. With last week’s heavy snow, a “normal” snowpack may still be possible by May, when most of the agricultural producers in our area will need it.

Looking at the week ahead, the weather forecast looks dry and warm. I would suspect this will change soon as historically March and April are the snowiest months in the region.      

Here’s a chart of the records for the 4 SNOTEL sites in the San Isabel Region (as of 3/5/2015):

SNOTEL Site, and nearest town

Median Snow Water Equivalent for 3/5/15

Actual Snow Water Equivalent for 3/5/15

Snow Water Equivalent since 2/24/15

Percent of Median

Hayden Pass (Coaldale)

Incomplete records

13.2 inches

2.9 inches

Incomplete records

South Colony (Westcliffe)

15.7 inches

14.2 inches

3.8 inches

90.4%

Medano Pass (Gardner)

5.9 inches

7.1 inches

1.6 inches

120.3%

Ute Creek (Gardner)

12.5 inches

9.1 inches

2.1 inches

72.8%

If you are interested in tracking precipitation levels yourself click here: SNOTEL

 

Mike Downey is the Land Protection Specialist and Colorado Open Lands Fellow for San Isabel Land Protection Trust. When Mike is not working on protecting important and productive ranches, forests, and waters in our region, he can sometimes be found predicting the weather and informing San Isabel staff as to whether or not they should wear layers!

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