Tag: Colorado weather

April storms boost Colorado snowpack

Much of West reports record-fast meltdown under El Niño heat

Colorado snowpack May 1 2016
April storms boosted Colorado’s snowpack, with near average runoff and river flows expected during the spring and summer in most parts of the state.
Colorado snowpack map
Southern parts of Colorado have not had above average snowpack readings for several years in a row, which could be part of the “new normal” in the global warming era

Staff Report

April storms helped boost Colorado’s statewide snowpack to above average, but two river basins in the southern part of the state continue to report below normal readings.

The state’s mountain areas benefited the most from a series of wet, El Niño-fueled storms, bringing precipitation for the water year to average, according to Brian Domonkos, the Colorado snow survey supervisor for the USDA Natural Resources conservation service.

“At this time last year the water supply outlook was grim at best,” Domonkos said. “Colorado’s current snowpack and precipitation levels are right where we want to be this time of year. Elsewhere in the Western United States seasonal snowpack during 2016 succumbed to early spring warming and did not recover as Colorado did from recent storms,” he added. Continue reading “April storms boost Colorado snowpack”

Climate: U.S. West very dry in February

Very dry across the West in February 2016.
Very dry across the West in February 2016.

Where’s El Niño?

Staff Report

El Niño didn’t exactly go gangbusters in southwest Colorado last month, where the key river basins received only about 35 percent of average February precipitation. Statewide mountain precipitation was only slightly better, at 56 percent of normal.

“February in the mountains of Colorado is typically a slightly drier month than compared to say, April. But a dry February like this could have big ramifications should April and May not pan out” said Brian Domonkos, Snow Survey Supervisor with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Continue reading “Climate: U.S. West very dry in February”

Twin storms boost Colorado’s January snowpack

Entire state blanketed with snow in early Feburary

Mid-winter, and nearly all of Colorado has snow on the ground.

Staff Report

Snowpack is at or above average in all of Colorado’s river basins.

A pair of storms that bookended January helped raise the statewide snowpack level to 111 percent of average as of Feb. 1, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Survey.

Satellite images and other remote sensors operation by NOAA’s National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center storms left nearly the entire state blanketed in snow. Without those two storms, January snowfall would only have been about 70 percent of average for the month, said Brian Domonkos, Colorado Snow Survey supervisor with the NRCS.

Snowfall continued through February 3, which increased snowpack totals to as high as 117 percent of normal as of Feb 4. The mountains of Southern Colorado saw the greatest increase in snow-water equivalent. From January 28 to February 3. total snowpack depth increased as much as 30 inches at the Cumbres Trestle SNOTEL in the San Juan Mountain range.

As of February 1, the snowpack was below average in only a handful of minor watersheds. All other drainages were above to well above normal. While the late January storms benefitted the entire state, January precipitation as a whole was particularly slim in the Arkansas and Upper Rio Grande basins and storms only amounted to about 75 percent of normal monthly snowpack accumulation.



May was a drought-buster for eastern Colorado

Wet summer ahead?

May precipitation broke the all-time record for Colorado.
Every part of Colorado saw above normal precipitation in Many.
Every part of Colorado saw above normal precipitation in May.

Staff Report

FRISCO — May brought drought-busting precipitation to much of Colorado, state climate experts said last week during their monthly Water Availability Task Force meeting in Denver.

The beneficial moisture erased a long-running drought in southeastern Colorado and also helped boost the streamflow outlook in the Rio Grande Basin, where a meager winter snowpack had lowered expectations for summer runoff.

By contrast, the far western third of the state is still designated as experiencing abnormally dry conditions by the National Drought Monitor, which also shows a pocket of moderate drought across western Gunnison and much of Delta counties. Continue reading “May was a drought-buster for eastern Colorado”

Widespread flood warnings in Colorado

Hikers, motorists warned about overflowing streams and rivers

Subtropical moisture streaming into Colorado is triggering more flood concerns.
Flooding is possible in southwest Colorado, parts of the high country, as well as many Front Range streams.

Staff Report

FRISCO — With more subtropical moisture streaming into Colorado from the Southwest, parts of the state are under flood watches and flood warnings at the start of the weekend, including:

  • South Boulder Creek near Eldorado Springs,
  • Cache La Poudre River near Greeley affecting Weld County.
  • South Platte River at Henderson affecting Adams County.
  • South Platte River near Kersey affecting Weld County.
  • South Platte River near Weldona affecting Morgan County.
  • South Platte River near Balzac affecting Logan, Morgan and
    Washington Counties.

In the high country, the Eagle River is expected to come close to overflowing this weekend, with a flood advisory for the weekend. Other rivers running high include the Roaring Fork between Aspen and Glenwood Springs and the Colorado River from the Eagle/Grand County line to the Utah border. Continue reading “Widespread flood warnings in Colorado”

Will Pacific hurricanes dampen the Southwest?

NASA’s Terra satellite captured this visible image of Hurricane Andres on May 31, clearly showing the storm’s eye. Credit NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response.

Early tropical systems churning off the coast of Mexico

Staff Report

FRISCO — The eastern Pacific has already brewed up two tropical systems, with Hurricane Andres churning well off the coast and headed out to sea, and Tropical Storm Blanca, expected to reach hurricane force June 2.

Neither storm is a threat to Mexico, though the National Hurricane Center says some of Blanca’s outer rain bands could brush the coast. Continue reading “Will Pacific hurricanes dampen the Southwest?”

Study: No such thing as ‘normal’ weather in Colorado

Extreme storms can happen outside expected times

A monsoon season lighting strike in Summit County. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

FRISCO — A new study led by Colorado-based scientists seems to reinforce the old saying that, when it comes to the state’s weather, there’s no such thing as normal.

The research aimed to track seasonal and geographical patterns of extreme weather events, especially the monster storms that create headaches for emergency responders and resources managers. But pinpointing those trends is not easy the weather experts found. Continue reading “Study: No such thing as ‘normal’ weather in Colorado”