Although Cortez has yet to see a blizzard this fall, the precipitation in November was slightly above average for this time of year.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture Service Center in Cortez measured 1.75 inches of rain and snow in November, compared with the 1.06 inch average. This followed an unusually dry October, and a year marked by wildly fluctuating temperatures and precipitation levels.
Meteorologist Jim Andrus doesn’t expect much snow in December, though.
“It’s been a roller-coaster year,” Andrus said.
All year, unusually wet months, like January and August, have been followed by unusual dry spells. All of Colorado, including Cortez, is considered to be in a moderate drought, and a winter without snow will only increase the problem.
Still, the Southwest is starting the winter off in a better position than other areas in the state.
According to the USDA, snowpack levels in the Dolores, San Miguel, Animas and San Juan areas are at 80 percent of normal, which is higher than most of Colorado.
So far, Cortez has gotten 11.34 inches of precipitation this year, which is about 97 percent of normal for the area.
Although temperatures are expected to stay low in Cortez for the next week, Andrus expects things to warm up over the next 30 days. The 90-day forecast is even more optimistic, predicting average temperatures of up to 40 degrees. But Andrus said those predictions are very uncertain and could change at any time.
“These are 30 to 90 days out, and we have enough trouble predicting the weather for the next week,” he said.