With every snowless day, Denver Extends his new record From the date on which the first measurable snow fell, beating the old record of November 21, which was set in 1934.
Climatologists are watching the record high, and estimate that the dry period in Denver could last into early December. But that’s not nearly as alarming as lagging ice levels in southwest Colorado, they say, specifically in the Sangre de Cristo, San Juan and San Miguel mountains.
Colorado needs a year of above-average snow to start recovering from a dry summer this year and last, said climate scientist Becky Bollinger of Colorado State University. Without this mass of snow, water levels along the dry Colorado River would likely remain low.
The The Colorado River and its tributaries It is already experiencing historically low water levels. For the first time, this year the Federal Bureau of Reclamation has ordered officials in Colorado and Utah to release water from upstream reservoirs to keep record low levels in Lake Powell from sinking further.
shortage along the river Cause water supply interruption For people in Arizona, Nevada, and Mexico. There will likely be more drastic cuts to the 40 million people across the West who depend on the river if the drought continues.
“We didn’t get off to a very good start,” said Ross Schumacher, another CSU climate scientist and director of the Colorado Climate Center.
Data collected by the US Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service It shows that the mass of snow around Alamosa is at 37% of normal levels. To the west, around Durango, there is a mass of snow at 34% of normal levels.
The data shows that the mountains in the far north run better. Snow falls around Ouray and Gunnison at 61% of normal. Snow falls around Aspen and Glenwood Springs at 72% of normal.
Bollinger said the gap between current conditions and natural snowpack is concerning, but it’s also early in the season. Peak levels of snowpack do not appear until mid-April, and the difference will narrow now and then as storms pass.
“I’m really going to start looking at what’s going on with the snow and the water supply around January,” she said.
Schumacher said he expects snow to accumulate better in the northern part of the state this winter while the southwest is likely to remain drier and warmer. that’s why La Niña conditions Chilling ocean waters near the equator off the coast of South America pushes the jet stream that crosses North America northward.
Schumacher said that La Niña years usually translate into a good supply of winter storms in the northern mountains of Colorado.
“But these storms are all missing in southern Colorado,” he said.
If La Niña conditions persist, Schumacher said he is concerned about a dry winter. In addition, the little moisture that might fall during that time could also be lost because the warmer temperatures melt the snow prematurely and the dry land absorbs it, he said.