Currently, most areas in Colorado are at average or above average for snowfall this year with southwest Colorado being the exception with snowfall well under average this year resulting in below average snow pack. In order to clearly see the impacts of snow pack depth we look at how well that snow will transfer into water. This is a ratio of snow to liquid and is represented as Snow Water Equivalent (SWE). Below is a preliminary map from the USDA/NRCS National Water and Climate Center depicting the SWE for Colorado as of December 27, 2018. SWE’s for west, east, central and northern Colorado are ~110-120% above average indicating increased snowfall for the beginning of the 2018-2019 season. whereas southwest Colorado is well below average with only 60-70% of the seasons typical SWE. Southwest Colorado has struggled to produce meaningful snowfall so far this season, but there will be a good chance over the next day or two to raise that percentage.
Currently a decent low pressure system resides over the southwest corner of Colorado which is bringing beneficial moisture from the south and dumping snow across the San Juan and Sangre de Christo Mountain ranges. Totals snowfall expected with this storm is anywhere between 2-6″ with higher elevations and south facing slopes seeing the higher end amounts. A lull in snow Saturday and Sunday before another low pressure system will move south of Colorado resulting in a very good chance for more snow with some models showing areas in the San Juan mountains receiving over a foot of snow! This should help raise the SWE amounts and hopefully bring some much needed relief to a very dry area.