Recent storms not exactly drought-busters

Recent storms not exactly drought-busters

Don’t be fooled by all that cold snow covering the mountains overlooking the Grand Valley — the drought is still on.

“It’s going to help out with every flake we get,” said John Kyle, data acquisition program manager for the Grand Junction office of the National Weather Service. “But the drought is a much longer period” than the snow-covered days of recent weeks.

The spate of snowstorms that covered western Colorado in recent days slowed, but hardly reversed, the dry trend of the last year.

“Snowstorms this time of year don’t add much moisture” to the overall amount of water that collects in the high country over the winter and spring, Chris Treese, spokesman for the Colorado River Water Conservation District. “At this point we’re really waiting for March and April to bring real content to the picture.”

The numbers so far bear that out, Kyle said.

As of Wednesday, the Grand Valley had seen 9.2 inches of snowfall so far this water year, which began in October, and the moisture total of a little more than 4 inches was the third driest on record.

For December so far, the valley has seen an accumulation of 0.97 of an inch of moisture.

Even though forecasts called for 6 to 14 inches of snow to fall in the high country, and 2 to 6 inches in the Grand Valley, through Wednesday night and this morning, the long-term outlook is less than bright.

Weather watchers had pinned some optimism on the development of an El Nino condition in the Pacific Ocean.

The El Nino pattern feeds moisture from warm waters into the weather pattern that dominates the west side of the Continental Divide, “but those warm waters just disappeared,” leaving behind no discernible weather pattern, Treese said. “There’s no nino so far.”


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