Monday, March 21, 2011

windy spring= disappearing snowpack

The snowpack in the northern San Juan mountains is still looking pretty good at 113% of normal. However, every spring we get these nice breezes that move the red dust from the desert landscape of Utah and Arizona to the mountains of SW Colorado. Between the sublimation of snow in these warm winds and the decrease in surface albedo from the dark dust, we can lose a large portion of our snowpack in just one wind event.

This "weather story" is courtesy of the National Weather Service explaining what we have in store for today and tonight. The first major wind event of the new spring. Notice how the SW winds come from the deserts right onto the southern mountains. Through most of the winter much of the west was damp, but now it seems that the snotel sites in New Mexico and Arizona are showing snowpack percentages in the single digits. Not a good sign at the END of winter.

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