The San Juan Mountains have faced unusually low periods of low precipitation along with large droppings of snow so far this season. Much of Colorado is currently in severe to extreme drought conditions, posing a risk for forest fires. Even though there was heavy snowfall causing closed roads roughly a week ago, the water level is still not in a good place.
It is looking like this year will be another below-average snowpack year. The wildfires that plagued the West coast last year are certainly at risk for happening again with low precipitation levels. Water reservoirs might not be as full, either. Much of the rain and snowfall that has come down has hydrated the dry soil, leaving little water to pool into the reservoirs.
Irrigation systems will be the most impacted, but it would not be surprising to see conservation notices for those who use creek and stream water in the area. Global warming is causing the snowpack that does reach the mountains to melt quicker. This leads to dry conditions later in the season, making the land prone to fire.
Farmers are having to adapt quickly to the changing precipitation levels to ensure they can still have a profitable crop. The future of the season is hard to predict, but the farmers are preparing for any situation. The hope is for a more substantial snowpack to bring the water levels closer to a normal level to have an operational season.
The combination of hot temperatures and low rainfall create the drought conditions in the area. About half the state of Colorado has extreme drought conditions while the northeastern part has record rainfall. The state is already having its firefighters take proactive steps to try and prevent the dry half of the state from wildfires. The state is also preparing options for water supply in the event that the normal river-supplied water cannot supply the people.
Colorado is facing an odd time when each half of the state is facing weather of record proportions, one half being too dry and the other half very wet. It is safe to say that many people are keeping their eye on the drought conditions and hoping more rainfall occurs in the areas that need it most. This season is not likely to be near normal, but farmers are hoping it does not devastate their crops. Conditions can change unexpectedly, so check in on Colorado’s precipitation frequently.