April 8, 2016--March dry spell takes toll on Southwest Colorado snowpack (Durango Herald)

Though Southwest Colorado has yet to reap the benefits of a wet El Niño, as of April 1, statewide snowpack totals are up 150 percent from last year, according to the National Resource Conservation Service. Karl Wetlaufer, assistant snow survey supervisor for NRCS, said data released Wednesday show just how much the dry spell in March affected the southern San Juan Mountains. Combined metrics for the Animas, Dolores, San Juan and San Miguel basins entered March with 97 percent of normal snowpack. By the end of the month, the total was down to 81 percent. March brought just 53 percent of average precipitation for the region. “Overall, the biggest news in that corner of the state is that it was a very, very dry March,” Wetlaufer said. “That dry spell certainly had a notable impact on whether or not a lot of those basins will reach their normal peak accumulation amounts.” However, because of major dumps in the central and northern parts of the state, snowpack totals are 150 percent higher than last year – bringing Colorado to just about normal averages. “It was a really strange split where northern and central mountains got well above average, and southern mountains got well below,” Wetlaufer said. “So statewide, we’re actually very near normal levels.” To view the full article visit the Durango Herald.