Southwest Colorado can expect an unsettled wet week ahead, with three storms expected to bring rain to river valleys and snow to San Juan Mountains.
National Weather Service Meteorologist Jeff Colton said mostly rain will fall in Montezuma County from all three storms, with a chance of snow possible during the coldest parts of the day. The first storm brought a mix of rain and snow on Sunday night.
“Another river of moisture is lining up to come through Southwest Colorado. It looks like we have a good, wet, unsettled week ahead,” he said.
Temperatures Sunday night approached freezing in Cortez.
A winter storm warning was in effect for the San Juan Mountains until 6 a.m. Monday.
On Monday, the threat of avalanche was rated “moderate” in the southern and northern San Juan Mountains, and “high” in Colorado’s central and northern Rockies.
“Winds are drifting snow into slabs up to four feet thick especially on easterly-facing slopes,” CAIC said. “Storm snow is falling on a variety of old snow surfaces and may not bond well to firm underlying crust or wind-stiffened surfaces. ”
Wolf Creek Ski Area reported at 5:20 p.m. Sunday that it received 18 inches of snow in the preceding 24 hours and 22 inches in the preceding 48 hours Another storm should be over Southwest Colorado on Wednesday, but it might bring some rain and snow Tuesday night, Colton said.
Wednesday’s storm favors the north-central mountains of Colorado but should dip into Southwest Colorado, he said.
The storm set to hit Friday could linger into Saturday, he said.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service Colorado lists the Animas, Dolores, San Miguel and San Juan river basins as having a snowpack that is 122 percent of the 30-year average.
The forecast for spring runoff for the San Juan River Basin has not been updated since Feb. 21, Colton said, but currently predicts a runoff of 80 to 95 percent of normal.
He said the runoff percentage will likely be increased because of recent storms that have added to the snowpack.
“We are still predicting a below-normal runoff because the soils are so dry, and a lot of the moisture will be absorbed by the soils and that will result in less runoff,” Colton said.