Endless winter

Tuesday's snowfall not the last precipitation Craig will see

"I thought winter was over," Burl McMillen said as he removed snow from the dozens of cars and trucks in the Craig Ford parking lot Wednesday morning. "This is not that fun."

Craig residents woke up to 6 inches of heavy, wet snow that began to fall Tuesday evening.

Chris Miller shoveled the sidewalk outside his business, Miller Family Appliance, on Fourth Street, on Wednesday. He was taking it all in stride.

"I know it's going to melt by tomorrow," He said. "It doesn't bother me that much."

March may be the snowiest month for Colorado, but that is not true for the northwest corner.

"March actually comes in fifth," said Jim Pringle with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction. "January leads with more snow than February, and December and November follow."

Pringle said Craig's weather station was moved from in town to Trapper Mine, 6 1/2 miles south of Craig, in 1977.

Graham Roberts gathers snowfall statistics. He has been Craig's official weather information man since September. Every day, Roberts measures precipitation and temperatures at 7 a.m. for the National Weather Service.

Wednesday morning's 6-inch snowfall was the largest this winter, Roberts said.

"In November, we had a 5-inch storm," Roberts said. "This one was real wet. We received 3/4 inch of moisture in this storm."

Even though the Yampa and White river basins are at 112 percent of normal snowpack, Pringle sees no reason for concerns about additional flooding this spring.

"Last year was particularly mild," Pringle said. "This year is closer to normal snowfall. I wouldn't be overly concerned with the late spring snowmelt causing flooding."

Pringle said unforeseen conditions might raise problems with the rate of snow melting.

"If we were to have rain and a rapid warmup, anything could happen," he said.

Roberts says weather observations are important to Trapper Mine.

"We keep weather records for our reclamation projects where moisture readings are critical for growth," Roberts said. "We also watch water quality in our 20-pond system to catch sediments."

Roberts noted that Trapper's readings may differ from those in Craig.

Pringle said a large weather system is headed toward Colorado, so residents can expect more storms in the coming weeks.

"We are in a weak La Niña center now," Pringle said. "The pattern has storm tracks splitting Colorado in two, with the southern part of the state receiving less than average precipitation, while north of the track, we are getting the snow."

Pringle said Colorado temperatures have been higher than normal this year, which means more moisture in Craig.

More moisture was obvious to the snow-removal team working on the cars at Craig Ford.

As Jeremy Wilson worked his way down the line of snow-covered cars, he had one thought.

"I'm looking forward to summer," he said.

Dan Olsen can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 207, or dolsen@craigdailypress.com.

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