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More snowfall predicted throughout the week in Southwest Colorado

Atmospheric rivers continue to help snowpack, despite dry start to the winter
The San Juan Mountains have the possibility of receiving a couple of feet from this week’s storms. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file)

Another group of winter storms are set to hit Durango and other parts of Southwest Colorado this week.

Snowfall is slated to start Tuesday night and sporadically carry on through the weekend, according to the National Weather Service seven-day forecast. Durango could receive between 4 and 8 inches of snow starting Tuesday night and through Wednesday.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Mark Miller said the storm will likely linger through Thursday afternoon with remnants lasting into Friday and Saturday. Most of the snowfall will come on Wednesday.

Cortez is predicted to receive around 1 to 3 inches, while Pagosa Springs could see anywhere from 8 to 12 inches. Miller said the San Juan Mountains could receive multiple feet of snow from the storm.

“It's going be a another remnant atmospheric river type storm. So we're looking at a lot of moisture and fairly mild, especially at the start,” Miller said.

Lower elevations have the possibility to see rain, but colder weather nearing the end of Wednesday and into Thursday creates better opportunity for snow in Durango and other municipalities.

Miller said it’s a little early to tell whether it’s going to be a below average snowpack year in the San Juans. Snowpack plays a crucial role in the flow of the Animas River come summertime, which drives a portion of Durango’s summer economy because of guided river trips.

It’s also a determining factor for the area’s fire danger when the warmer months come. Last year, the snowpack was estimated at 130% to 170% above average, but this year it appears to be trending toward a below average year.

“We're still trending below average, but it's getting better in the last month or so. But we'll see what this storm does. I think this might be the one that can maybe push us closer to average,” Miller said.

The U.S. drought monitor lists most of La Plata County in a moderate drought with the most southern portion of the county categorized in a severe drought.


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