How does the current snowpack in the Southern San Juans stack up against the 4 worst years in recent history? This graph shows the season-long accumulation of the snowpack at the Upper San Juan SNOTEL site near the summit of Wolf Creek Pass. I included the most recent 30-year average to compare the bad years to an average year.
2018 is the red line. This year is amazingly similar to 1990, 1996, and 2000. During those 3 years, the snow didn't start piling up until mid to late February. We're still below the 2002 snowpack, which produced the San Juan River's lowest spring runoff season since record keeping began in 1935.
The 23 inches of powder the fell on Wolf Creek Ski Area on January 20th improved the skiing conditions, but the snow only added about an inch of water to the high country. High pressure off the West Coast continues to divert storms around our region. Hopefully the weather pattern will change!
Soon, I'll write about La Nina and how ocean conditions have influenced our snowpack in the past. Also, I'll look at how March snowfall has panned out over the last 20 years.