Greetings from Silverton,
February is well underway and the forecast to bring us out of our drought is not showing anything encouraging or productive in the near-term particularity in southern Colorado. The current system moving through the Central Mountains may bring 8-12" to favored locations, while the Southern Mountains may see just a few inches. The models are trying to decide what, if any, mountain precipitation we might see this Friday - Saturday.
The plot below shows the number of storms we have received so far this winter season (red line) at Senator Beck. Having received only 3 Storms so far marks a new low for our period of record (a storm is defined as at least 12 mm precip with no break in precip greater than 12 hours). This is half the number of storms we experienced this time in WY2015 which was a dry year until 5 storms during May resulted in a huge recovery. On average for this time of year we have already received 12 winter storms. As winter progresses our chances of receiving the amount of storms necessary to bring us closer to a more normal dry year is diminishing. Also too, it is not uncommon for just a few, very productive storms (or lack thereof) to make or break a snow season, but nonetheless these storms if we are going to receive them, are going to need to be more and more productive as the season progresses.
Dust Event #1: After noting an intermittent dirty basal layer in the snowpack at certain locations for a few weeks now, we decided to log Dust Event #1 (D1) as occurring on December 20. This is the likely date where we experienced sustained high winds out of the S-SW that preceded a precipitation event arriving December 21. This faint dust has slowly shown itself not so much at Swamp Angel but other locations as noted by CSAS staff as well as observations from Colorado Avalanche Information Center. Even though we have added our first dust event of the season to the record books this intermittent and diffuse dust, located at the very base of the snowpack, will have zero influence on spring snowmelt.
Snow School: This is the last notice for "Snow School for Water Professionals" being offered Feb 28 - March 2. There are still a few seats available for this combination classroom and field learning professional development opportunity. Don't let the low snowpack scare you away, there are many unique and informative aspects to this snow season. Please contact Jeff Derry or see our webpage https://snowstudies.org/field-education-workshops/
January Recap: On Friday we posted a recap of our observations at Senator Beck Study Basin. You can view the recap along with photographs and images on our Storm Reports page: https://snowstudies.org/winter-storm-data/. If you would like to receive email updates when these Storm Reports are issued please let me know. In addition to our update the below links will take you to a number of other recently released weather and water supply updates: