Snowpack about 90% average for Arkansas River basin

Puebloans awoke Tuesday to a reminder that Old Man Winter isn’t quite ready to give way to spring.


After a dry period that prompted Stage 1 fire restrictions, 1.6 inches of snow fell overnight, giving the city a charming — but not overtly wet — white blanket.


The latest snowfall comes on the heels of much smaller amounts that fell Sunday and April 3.


Steven Rodriguez, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the snowfall, and recent cold temperatures, were a result of a front that pushed through the region late Saturday and into Sunday.


“Despite it being mid-April, it’s an example of ‘weather in Colorado,’” Rodriguez said. “We are moving into springtime and our warmer months, but we still can see systems that bring below-normal temperatures and snow showers.


“It’s not uncommon to see this in April.”


Since July, Rodriguez said Pueblo has received 35.4 inches of moisture, with the normal value being 29.5 inches.


And that total may receive some padding.


With dry conditions expected to last into Wednesday — temperatures, however, would remain on the colder side, especially overnight — another system is expected to move through the region Thursday.


“And that could bring additional snow showers to the plains and the I-25 corridor, including Pueblo,” Rodriguez said. “There’s a decent chance we can get accumulated snowfall. It might not be a whole lot, but it could be more than a trace.”


Although Thursday’s high is anticipated to be 47, “given the front moving through, that temperature might be early on in the day,” Rodriguez added.


As for mountain snowpack, it’s about 90% average for the Arkansas River basin, said Chris Woodka, senior policy and issues manager for the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District.


“We are doing better (115%) in the headwaters of the Arkansas River, and at higher elevations above 11,000 feet,“ Woodka explained. ”In the Colorado River basin, which provides imports to Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Pueblo West and the Southeastern District, snowpack is just about average, but a little above average (120%) in the Roaring Fork basin, which supplies the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project.


“We are anticipating better-than-average imports, provided that conditions remain near normal.”


After a good start in December followed by a lackluster January, Woodka said, “overall, I would characterize the snow accumulation as steady throughout February and March.


“Snowpack has been declining in April because of warmer temperatures. The most recent snow may provide a slight bump, but is not a game-changer.”


Water storage is higher than normal, Woodka said, and plans call for “bringing over a little more water from the Western Slope, if conditions remain favorable.”


jpompia@chieftain.com


Twitter: @jpompia