Promising winter suddenly falters
The weather in February suddenly turned dry. What looked to be a wetter-than-average winter in area mountains is turning into an average winter.
On an average year, the snowpack in area mountains builds throughout the winter until it peaks in late March.
For instance, the snowpack at the Camp Jackson Sno-tel reporting station in the Abajo Mountains north of Blanding and west of Monticello generally peaks on March 21 with 12.1 inches of water.
Then it typically begins to decline with the arrival of spring.
This year, it was just mid-January when the snowpack at Camp Jackson reached the annual average level of 12.1 inches.
This was nearly 200 percent above normal for the date. It appeared as if any additional snow between that day and the March 21 peak would just be icing on the cake.
But since that time, there has been scant precipitation, with 13.2 inches of water on March 3 at Camp Jackson.
While this is still 109 percent of a normal winter, it represents a precipitous drop since January.
The situation is even more pronounced in area communities
Blanding has received just 2.24 inches of precipitation since the water year began on October 1.
This is just 38 percent of normal. The 8.5” inches of snow this winter in Blanding is 24 percent of normal through February.
The impact of the snowpack on stored water is unknown at this time, but area reservoirs overflowed for weeks at a time in 2019 and were in good shape entering the winter.
It is hoped that there will be an adequate amount of water for culinary and irrigation use in the summer.