Southwest Colorado can expect an unsettled wet week ahead, with three storms expected to bring rain to river valleys and snow to San Juan Mountains.
National Weather Service Meteorologist Jeff Colton said mostly rain will fall in Durango from all three storms, with a chance of snow possible during the coldest parts of the day. The first storm could bring rain to Durango as soon as Sunday night.
“Another river of moisture is lining up to come through Southwest Colorado. It looks like we have a good, wet, unsettled week ahead,” he said.
Temperatures Sunday night and Monday are expected to dip below freezing in Durango, and perhaps up to an inch of snow could accumulate if precipitation comes down as snow instead of rain late Sunday and early Monday, Colton said.
The storm could bring another 5 to 10 inches of snow above 9,000 feet in the San Juan Mountains, he said.
A winter storm warning is in effect for the San Juan Mountains until 6 a.m. Monday. A winter storm warning means severe winter conditions will make travel hazardous or impossible. If traveling, the weather service recommends motorists bring a flashlight and have extra food and water in the car in case of an emergency.
Another storm should be over Southwest Colorado on Wednesday, but it might bring some rain and snow Tuesday night, Colton said.
Wednesday’s storm favors the north-central mountains of Colorado but should dip into Southwest Colorado, he said.
The storm set to hit Friday could linger into Saturday, he said.
Currently, the The Natural Resources Conservation Service Colorado SNOTEL lists the Animas, Dolores, San Miguel and San Juan river basins as having a snowpack that is 122 percent of the 30-year average.
The forecast for spring runoff for the San Juan River Basin has not been updated since Feb. 21, Colton said, but currently predicts a runoff of 80 to 95 percent of normal.
He said the runoff percentage will likely be increased because of recent storms that have added to the snowpack.
“We are still predicting a below-normal runoff because the soils are so dry, and a lot of the moisture will be absorbed by the soils and that will result in less runoff,” Colton said.