Above average Colorado snowpack battles against severe drought conditions

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Posted at 5:47 PM, Nov 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-05 20:34:00-05

On the Colorado snow pack map, 100% represents a normal snow pack. Right now, statewide, we are above normal at 162%. The Arkansas River basin, which represents most of southeastern Colorado is at 161%. Where we are seeing below normal snow pack is still in the Upper Rio Grande as well as the San Juan and Dolores basins. These numbers continue to shrink as snow melts and until the next big storm. This data is sampled mostly in the mountains and you can think of it as the amount of water that would eventually flow into the corresponding river basins after melting.

These numbers have a close relationship to drought conditions. At the beginning of July, 95% of the state was drought free, thanks to an epic winter snowpack 2018-2019. Compare that to now, where 81% of the state is at least abnormally dry, 27% being under severe category. Where we see the most severe drought is also where we see below normal snow pack, in southwest Colorado.

August 6, 2019 versus October 22, 2019

Looking ahead to November, normal monthly snowfall for Colorado Springs is 4.7" and for Pueblo 4.4". For Trinidad the average is 7.5", and 23.7" for Leadville.