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State climatologist: Winter storm brought lots of water, but Colorado needs more to fight drought - Water News

State climatologist: Winter storm brought lots of water, but Colorado needs more to fight drought


More wet snow needed to fight Colorado drought conditions


More wet snow needed to fight Colorado drought conditions

02:36

The wet and heavy snow that fell across much of Colorado on Wednesday will further help the state combat drought while also securing adequate snowpack for the season.

Russ Schumacher, a state climatologist and professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University said the state still needs many more snow storms to keep up with the amount of water needed.

“Colorado is a headwater state, and the snow that falls in our mountains benefits us here in Colorado but also many others,” Schumacher said.

While many may see the snow storms as an inconvenience or too cold for comfort, the snow is much needed to further snowpack.

According to Schumacher Colorado’s snowpack is typically around 50% at this time of the winter season. However, in the mountains, snow of late has Colorado already at 65% of the annual goal.

“January is typically a pretty dry month. When there is snow it is not that wet, but this storm brought quite a bit of water,” Schumacher said. “Over the last three weeks or so the mountains have been getting storm after snow storm, and that is really where we need the water to be.”

While the snow in the mountains will help secure drinking water for more than just Coloradans, the repetitive snow storms on the eastern plains of Colorado this winter has come as a blessing for many farmers.  

“Over the last month or two there have been a sequence of snow storms across that (northeast) corner of the state. That has been a huge help in keeping those drought conditions from getting worse, probably even improvising them,” Schumacher said. 

Many farms in the plains are actively growing hard winter wheat during the winter months. Such wheat can help make future products like flat breads, croissants and more. The snow greatly helps those crops succeed through the winter months.  

Schumacher said Colorado needs more storms like what we saw in order to help combat drought.  

“From the perspective of water supply we still have a way to go. It needs to snow for the next few months. We need the snow now and we need it to keep coming,” Schumacher said. 



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