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Greetings from Silverton,

Well good riddance to WY2018.  After Colorado’s warmest and 3rd driest (driest for northwestern and southwestern Colorado) water year on record, it is a relief to begin a new water year accompanied by cooler than normal air temperatures and a nice dose of precipitation in western, eastern Colorado, and some mountain areas.  In the past three weeks we received tropical moisture from hurricane Rosa and Sergio and in addition a productive system out of the north.  In our Senator Beck Study Basin located at Red Mt Pass in the San Juan Mountains, so far this water year we have received 4.6” precipitation and at our higher monitoring site (12,200’) we have 15” of snow accumulation.  The precipitation has slowly started showing itself in our stream gauge.  Hard to imagine streams being in a much worse state, a few weeks ago all stream channels in Senator Beck were dry (and the Animas River at its lowest flows in 107 year record), with only a trickle of water coming to the surface a few hundred feet upstream of our gauge near the outlet of the watershed.  After such a devastating WY2018 we have a long way to go in making up such a large precipitation deficit.  At least the long-term forecast going into WY2019 is calling for a pattern shift from what we experienced last year.  There is a 70-75% chance of El Nino conditions this winter which bodes well for bringing increased precipitation to the southwest.

Storm Reports:  Now that the higher elevations in Senator Beck will likely hold onto the snow accumulated over the last few weeks we will begin issuing our winter storm reports.  If you are not familiar, we issue storm reports following a winter storm in the San Juan Mountains.  Sometimes the reports are just a few sentences and other times we do a detailed analysis on something interesting that happened or is in the forecast.  To be added to our email list and be notified when we have posted a storm report to our website please contact Jeff Derry (jderry@snowstudies.org).  Reports can be viewed here:  https://snowstudies.org/winter-storm-data/

CODOS:  In our Colorado Dust-on-Snow Department we are looking forward to serving the snow and water community for another winter season with dust-on-snow observations and assessments as to the influence of dust on snowmelt timing and rates around Colorado.  If you have a new colleague in your office that would benefit from our CODOS updates please forward along our contact information to add them to our update notification email list.  As a reminder, our updates are posted to our website along with all kinds of other snowpack and streamflow observations and analysis:  http://www.codos.org/#codos

Snow School for Water Professionals:  Once again we are offering Snow School for Water Professionals this year from February 20 - 22, 21018.  This combination classroom and field course will begin on Wednesday morning at our office in Silverton and end on Friday afternoon.  This class is perfect for anyone wanting to learn more about the role of snow and our mountain systems as it pertains to water resources.  Attached is a flyer, please post in your workplace and please do not hesitate to contact me with questions. 

Below are a Few Links to Stay Informed about Snow, Water, and our Mountain Ecosystems:  

Colorado Climate Center: http://climate.colostate.edu/~drought/

H2O Radio: http://h2oradio.org/CurrentStory.html

Water Information Program: https://waterinfo.org/

Water Education Colorado: https://www.watereducationcolorado.org/

Rocky Mt Climate Organization: http://www.rockymountainclimate.org/

Hutchins Water Center, Mesa State: https://www.coloradomesa.edu/water-center/index.html         

More soon.