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Low early snow in the West

Mike Fox

December has arrived, but in much of the West, snowfall has not. Snowpack numbers in every part of the Colorado River basin are lower than average for this time of year. In most of Utah, Arizona, and New Mexic snowpack is only around a quarter or a third of normal. Numbers are slightly better in Colorado and Wyoming which have about half as much snow as normal.

Climate scientists say there’s plenty of time left for conditions to turn around, but they’re watching these totals closely. Low snowpack can have serious repercussions for the Colorado River. Water that supplies supply 40 million people throughout the Southwest starts as winter snow in the Rockies. And as the basin endures more than two decades of drought, cities and farms throughout the region can’t afford another dry winter.