Northwest Colorado remains under hazardous weather watch | CraigDailyPress.com

Northwest Colorado remains under hazardous weather watch

Water supply outlook improves as spring runoff begins

Winter continues to roar across Colorado, and the National Weather Service in Grand Junction is maintaining a hazardous weather watch for the region.

Increased precipitation the first week of March continued a trend set in January, with no more than a few days between weather events.

“The wetter weather pattern that began in January persisted through February, bringing exceptional moisture to much of Colorado. The central and southern mountains were favored by moisture-laden storms that delivered more than double normal February precipitation to some mountain locations,” according to the Colorado Water Supply Outlook report issued March 1 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service.

This is good news for a region hit hard by drought in 2018.

“Every major basin in Colorado is currently holding an above-normal snowpack and leaving the statewide snowpack at 112 percent of normal. Current forecasts for summer streamflows now follow this trend, as well, with the vast majority of them being for near to above average volumes,” according to the report. “… Snowpack in the Yampa, White, and North Platte basins is above normal at 107 percent of the median. Precipitation for February was 119 percent of average, and water year‐to‐date precipitation is 108 percent of average. Reservoir storage at the end of February was 104 percent of average compared to 125 percent last year. Current streamflow forecasts range from 96 percent of average for Elkhead Creek above Long Gulch to 109 percent for the North Platte River near Northgate.”

Above-average precipitation in January and February have forecasters anticipating average to above average spring streamflow in most of Colorado, including the Yampa and White River basins.

More precipitation is expected throughout the week.

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The National Weather Service in Grand Junction reported that, throughout the day Sunday, isolated scattered rain and snow showers occurred across northern valleys and over the mountains, with between one and two inches of accumulation in some places by morning. Snow was expected to level off throughout the day.

New snowfall amounts over the mountains Sunday night are expected to be less than two inches, with little to no accumulation in the valleys.

Dense cloud cover obscures most of Black Mountain and Bears Ears north of Craig  Sunday, March 10. More snow is expected to fall over the mountains, while a mix of scattered rain and showers are expected in the valleys during the week.

Elsewhere in Colorado avalanche warnings are still in place, especially around Aspen and the central, western mountains. Winter storm warnings remain in place in Southwest Colorado.

Monday and Tuesday, the forecast is much the same, as scattered rain and snow showers are expected to continue. Conditions should turn colder Wednesday and Thursday, when there will be a “good chance for rain and snow across all of eastern Utah and western Colorado,” according to the NWS.

Later in the week, on Friday and Saturday, precipitation should lessen, with only a slight chance of snow showers across the mountains, leaving the region otherwise dry going into the weekend.

However, spring weather is notoriously unpredictable in Colorado. Care should be taken to check forecasts often and road conditions prior to travel.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.