Grand remains in “exceptional” drought |

Grand remains in “exceptional” drought

Grand County and much of the Western Slope remains in exceptional or extreme drought conditions.
United States Drought Monitor

Months of drought continue for Grand County and most of the western slope.

Grand has been in “exceptional” drought for months, according to the United States Drought Monitor. The drought map for Colorado puts the majority of the county in the worst of five categories for drought intensity.

On the Grand Lake snowmobiling trails, that means snowpack has not been adequate enough for trailgrooming in most areas.

Some National Forest trails are open, but present conditions are not easy to negotiate, according to a recent Facebook post from the Grand Lake Trailgroomers. Conditions on those trails are thin and icy with a mix of snow, dirt, rocks and some burn debris.

Some signs are out on Kawuneeche from Idleglen to Hot Dog Park where groomers were able to pack in a few inches of snow, but there are still no signs or groomer presence on Stillwater Road or Pony Park trail and meadows as of Wednesday.

The widespread drought is also apparent in snow water equivalent tracker known as SNOTEL. For the Colorado River Basin, which includes all of Grand, the snow water equivalent is at 73% of the average pack.

The snowpack for the Colorado River Basin, which includes Grand County, has been below average this year. Water Year 2021 is depicted by the dark blue line.
Provisional SNOTEL data

It’s even less compared to this time last year at 68% of the snow water equivalent. Last year’s snowpack for the Colorado River Basin was unique because pack coasted above average through April before suddenly dropping in an unusually dry May.

At Winter Park Resort, snowpack is 93% of the 30-year average according to Meteorologist Joel Gratz predicts that the next significant snow storms for the mountain won’t be until around Jan. 16 or Jan. 17.

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