WeatherWeather Science


Colorado snowpack drops, why experts aren't too concerned yet

West Spanish Peak
Posted at 3:24 PM, Feb 18, 2022

As winter 2022 has progressed, Colorado's moisture has been split between the Continental Divide. The western slope and mountains are in a deficit over the past 30 days, while eastern Colorado is in a surplus.

Precipitation percent of normal past 30 days

Colorado Springs, Pueblo, and Denver have seen much need snow, amounting to as much as 2 to 3 times above average. In the graph below, the February precipitation as of the 28th has far surpassed the average for the entire month.

Precipitation by month for Colorado Springs, Pueblo, and Denver for January and February 2022

Both Peter Goble and Russ Schumacher with the Colorado Climate Center have taken note of the deficit in the mountains.

Goble, service climatologist and drought specialist, states that "conditions across the Rockies are certainly worse than they were 30 days ago. Snowpack gains have been minimal, and spring runoff projections have come down significantly."

Statewide snowpack water equivalent as of February 18, 2022. Data from USDA.

State climatologist Schumacher agrees with Goble and says, in addition, that "if without any additional information, you told me that the snowpack was at 92% of average statewide in mid-February, I’d say we’re not in great shape, but not too concerning either... we still need a lot more snow to reach a near-average peak in early April."

Current projections from the Climate Prediction Center indicate that snowpack may have trouble getting back to average or higher than average levels through Spring. The current 90-day outlook indicates a drier than average Spring for Colorado.

Climate Prediction Center 90-day precipitation outlook valid March, April, May 2022

But for now, time still remains on our side.

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