Snow last week / Lake Powell at all-time low

animas(z5-SW Colo)February 17, 2003

Fourteen inches of snow fell in the mountains last week. The first big storm since December. It was so nice to see the moisture. Everyone in town was so happy - and wet. A couple of interesting things... First, it rained in the valley (6,500 feet elevation). While this isn't uncommon for March, it's rare in Feb. Second, the weather has been so nice that I did some spring cleaning in the garden. The columbines have put out some leaves. The flax is beginning to grow, too. No action on the backyard bulbs (daffys, small iris, crocus) - yet. But out front, which gets more sun, my neighbor's tulips are coming up. This seems kinda early. They are signs (at least for me) that winter is pretty much done here in the mountains of SW Colorado. Too bad. The snowpack is low, low, low. Let's hope for the drubbing of wet March snow. (You know that things are getting bad when gardeners pray for wet, late, branch-snapping storms!) FWIW, Lake Powell is at a record low now. And the water people don't expect it fill up for a while. Check out the article at

http://www.durangoherald.com/asp-bin/article_generation.asp?article_type=out&article_path=/outdoors/out030217.htm

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Crumpet(SW)

Yes, saw the article on Lake Powell. Good thing I wasn't planning vacation there, the marinas sound like a nightmare....not that they were ever pleasant.

There will be more big forest fires. The pinyon pines down here are dieing at an alarming rate; years of drought and now the beetles. That's all natural standing dead wood just waiting to burn. Are you seeing forest problems up there?

Yes, we can only hope the spring snows are heavy.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2003 at 9:53AM
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animas(z5-SW Colo)

The same is happening with the pinyon and beetles. In some places, the kill rate is 50 percent of the forest. The problem is so big that various govm't agencies aren't doing anything. There's just too many dead/dying trees to cut down -- and where can someone burn tens of thousands of trees? They are appealing to landowners to go across their property and cut-down/burn the beetle trees. But nothing is being done (as if anything could be done!) on BLM and USFS lands. I drove southwest of Cortez, Colo., last month. Wow! Stands of brown-needled (dead) pinyon were everywhere. When this all comes to an end, I think people might look back and say the drought/fires were certainly the most visible disaster, but that the beetle infestations and tree kills were the most devastating. Hope I'm wrong about that!

    Bookmark   February 19, 2003 at 10:46AM
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Dswan(z6 UT)

Animas, sounds like the San Juan river won't be making up for the lack of water coming down the Green. How does the snowpack look in the Colorado and Gunnison River drainages? If they are like the Green, Lake Powell could sink a lot more this summer. The lake rose so fast when they filled it and since it hadn't been explored all that thoroughly, I wonder if they'll discover anasazi artifacts lost in the lake.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2003 at 7:35PM
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animas(z5-SW Colo)

Lots of snow today... four inches in town and eight in the mountains and still snowing. It's wet, heavy stuff, too. The best kind of snow for snowpack. Went to Powell last weekend. Wow, was the lake low. But the boat ramps are OK. Lots of camping spots are now available. As for the San Juan Basin, the snowpack (prior to this current storm) is a scant 64 percent of normal, and the total precipitation is 73 percent of normal. Let keep hoping for lots of wet, sloppy snow for the next month!

    Bookmark   February 25, 2003 at 3:26PM
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