3 PERCENT OF NORM: A massive gap exists in Colorado’s snowpack distribution

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Although many didn’t think it would happen again this season, snowfall across the state of Colorado is back to the 20-year norm for the start of June, thanks to heavy snowfall in areas. of central and northern Colorado in recent weeks. The snowpack hasn’t been around this level, relative to date, since mid-March. That being said, some regions are seriously lagging behind this number.

While the South Platte River Basin is at 142% of the 20-year median to date, the Southwest River Basins are only 3-4% of the current norm. Meanwhile, much of the central highlands, northern Colorado, and southern Colorado are exactly where they would typically be at this time of year snow-wise.

See how the actual snowpack compares to the 20-year cumulative median by region below:






Map credit: USDA.


As news broke today that a small pocket in northern Colorado is no longer rated ‘abnormally dry’ following recent wetness, breaking the state’s 100% streak at this level of drought or worse, widespread drought still exists. According to the US Drought Monitor, 87.50% of the state is currently experiencing some level of drought (98.91% being at least abnormally dry).

Currently, the most severe drought is along the southern edge of the state, creeping into the San Luis Valley region.

See the drought situation on the map below:







Image: US Drought Monitor.

Image: US Drought Monitor.


A dry summer is likely in Colorado, fraught with fire hazard. Even in parts of the state where the snowpack is at or above the norm, a level of persistent dryness still tends to be present.

Follow snowpack updates here and drought updates here.

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