A snowstorm that left widely varying accumulations across Southwest Colorado should be departing the region Sunday evening after dumping 18 inches at Telluride Ski Area but leaving only a trace in Durango.
Colorado Department of Transportation reported Lizard Head, Coal Bank, Molas, Red Mountain and Wolf Creek passes were icy and snowpacked on Sunday morning, but no travel restrictions were in place.
As of 10 a.m., Mancos had received 6 inches from the storm, and Cortez recorded 5 inches, but Durango saw only a trace of overnight snowfall.
Scott Stearns, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, said a snowband perfectly set up from Cortez to about Hesperus, and it delivered accumulations in low elevations, but the snowband never made it far enough east to dump on Durango.
“Durango was just far enough east of that band of good snowfall. The further east you were the less you got from the storm,” he said.
The snowstorm will continue to taper off through the day, but another weak snowstorm is expected to move into Southwest Colorado on Monday night and provide some snow on Tuesday.
“Monday night, it looks like we might get some snow in the San Juans,” Stearns said. “And that’ll probably last through a good portion of the day on Tuesday. It’s looking pretty light at this point, but the San Juans might be able to sneak about 6 inches out of it at the higher elevations.”
Durango and lower elevations are likely to see a trace to an inch of snow from the storm with maybe 2 inches possible in Hesperus and at higher elevations along the U.S. Highway 160 corridor, Stearns said.
So far this month, Jim Andrus, a Cortez weather watcher, reported Cortez has received 6.1 inches of snow with 15 days remaining in the month. The average for the entire month of March is 5.4 inches.
This year, Cortez has received 2.51 inches of water-equivalent precipitation compared with an average of 2.86 inches at the end of March.
“It’s been a good month already, despite it being a La Niña year,” Andrus said.
Purgatory Resort reported 2 inches in the past 24 hours, and Wolf Creek Ski Area reported 15 inches.
The Colorado Avalanche Information Center reports a moderate avalanche risk level for the southern San Juan Mountains and a considerable risk level for the northern San Juan Mountains.
As of Sunday, the National Resources Conservation Service’s Snotel map lists the snowpack in Southwestern Colorado at 79% of the 30-year average.