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Hopeful signs that wetter weather is in the forecast

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Photo by Don Benjamin After a long, dry period of winter the Grand Mesa is beginning to receive badly needed moisture in a series of quick-hitting storms. The surrounding mountains are once again coated in white and long-range forecast is for more normal

Clouds billowed over Grand Mesa last week, then parted to reveal a glimpse of higher elevation snow. This scene suggests the area's persistent drought may yet yield to seasonal moisture, but will it be enough and arrive in time?

Around Valentine's Day, Surface Creek received a few hours of welcome rain and snow -- especially in Cedaredge and areas north of town and on the mesa. But western Colorado's moisture and snowpack for 2018 remain below average and storms continue to track further north. Yet we may be in for a wet spring, at least that's the feeling up on Grand Mesa.

Mike and Rose Wenner have operated Grand Mesa Lodge for going on seven years and they report that their snow totals for January 2018 were respectable but nothing like the 115 inches of snow that fell last January. That 2017 snow was so wet and heavy it broke the roof on their lodge. This year is unlikely to be that wet but things are looking up. After a slow start, snow at the lodge for January 2018 added up to 38.8 inches and -- as of Sunday -- the February 2018 total had already reached 45.6 inches. In the Wenners' opinion, these steadily increasing totals mean two things: 1) there's more snow on the way and 2) the weather has shifted to follow a normal pattern. If they're correct, wet weather for Grand Mesa may be just around the corner.

The website weatherbase.com maintains a 30-year record of Grand Mesa weather and its data suggests increasing precipitation for February followed by heavy moisture in March, April and May. So fingers crossed, folks, and watch the skies.

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