Last week we brought you a story about April and seasonal snowfall totals. This week, we bring you a closer look at historically dry winters in Southern Colorado.
With the 2019-20 season coming to an end, let's first examine the numbers.
Both the Springs and Pueblo saw above average snowfall this past season, with Colorado Springs seeing nearly 2 feet of snow above the average. Pueblo's surplus of snow reached more than 6" above the normal amount.
Now let's take a look back at some of the lowest snowfall seasons on record.
In the Springs, there's only been one time since records began in 1900 that our seasonal total failed to reach the 10" mark.
In the new millennium, we've seen two very recent seasons with well below average snowfall. The number two season on this list is from 2010-11, when only 12.7" of snow fell at the Colorado Springs Airport.
Looking at the same statistics for Pueblo, the top 5 driest winters all hail from the 1900s.
The season that tops the list is from 1934-35, when just barely more than 7" of snow fell at the Pueblo Airport. Four of the top five seasons on this list netted less than 10" of snow.
When it comes to the current state of our drought, even though we've seen above average snowfall this season, nearly 29% of Colorado is still under "Severe Drought". This is according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor, which is published weekly.
With plenty of snowmelt ahead this spring, we suspect that we'll see some improvement over the next couple of week.
Tony Anderson, a National Weather Service Hydrologist, says that "despite the locally impressive snowfall in April, the bulk of Southern Colorado is in a long-term precipitation deficit. Fortunately, El Paso County has gotten moisture and is mostly clear of drought related conditions."
Anderson also points to spring rains and the monsoon season. If these fail to materialize, the drought will persist as things continue to dry out.