After prayers, cloud seeding and snow dances, the white stuff is finally coming our way.
Durangoans will probably wake up to another few inches this morning, and skiers at Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort likely will have their second fresh powder day this week. The forecast, according to the Grand Junction Office of the National Weather Service, is an 80 percent probability for 2 to 4 inches of snow in town and up to 10 inches in the mountains.
“Most of that will occur overnight Wednesday into the early hours (today),” said Paul Frisbie, a meteorologist with the weather service. “That’s the main window of opportunity.”
The snow couldn’t have come at a better time for area ski resorts, which need to capitalize on holiday travelers to help make their financial year. DMR reported 28 inches of snow midway Wednesday morning, with 6 inches of new snow in the previous 48 hours. Wolf Creek Ski Area reported 40 inches midway Wednesday, with 4 new inches in the previous 48 hours, and Telluride Ski Resort said it had received 7 inches of snow in the previous 48 hours, with the snow depth at the base at 24 inches.
Temperatures are going to stay in the same ballpark, with highs in the high 20s and low 30s into next week, Frisbie said.
Earlier this fall, the weather service reported that the El Niño weather pattern, which leads to heavier winters, had stalled over the Pacific.
“Now we’re in a neutral phase,” Frisbie said. “We’re not in an El Niño or La Niña pattern. The signals for this winter are less clear-cut.”
While there is the possibility of another storm coming in on New Year’s Eve, Frisbie said there are no guarantees.
“There’s still uncertainty about exactly how that looks right now,” he said. “It’s hard to say what that storm pattern will do.”
Three storms in two weeks by no means signifies the drought is over. The snowpack for the Animas, San Juan, Dolores and San Miguel river basins is currently at 57 percent of average for the year according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.