March precipitation a new (dry) record |

March precipitation a new (dry) record

Cliff Thompson

March is shaping up as one of the driest on record at Frank Doll’s back yard in Avon.

It’s just one more indicator of the continuing drought across the West.

For the last 38 years, Doll has been a National Weather Service weather watcher and has recorded temperatures, precipitation and other weather-related measurements from his weather station in his back yard near the Eagle River.

‘It’s pretty bad,” he said. “Between here and Siberia there’s little or nothing (weather-wise). I don’t see anything if you’re a water lover. If you like it dry and sunny, you should enjoy the next week”

The driest March he’s recorded was 1999 when just 4.1 inches of snow fell. With little more than a week remaining March’s total so far is 3.5 inches. The long-term average in Avon is 16.5 inches.

The drought is now in its fifth dry year, Doll said. In 2001, 10 inches fell; in 2002, 12.5 inches fell; and in 2000, just 12.5 inches of snow fell. The year-to-date snow total in Avon is 70 inches, well behind the 120 inches that falls in an average year.

The picture becomes clearer when you consider how snowy it can get. In 1998, 31.5 inches of snow fell in March. In 1991, it was 29.5 inches.

It’s been warmer, too, with mid-60-degree temperatures during the past week. That’s depleting the snowpack rapidly. It’s now approximately 70 to 75 percent of the long-term average. Colorado’s snowpack supplies 80 percent of the water used for irrigation and domestic consumption.

The extended forecast from the National Weather Service is calling for unsettled weather most of the week, with cooling temperatures and a chance of showers starting Tuesday afternoon.

“We’re not looking for any big storms in the next week,” said Gary Daniels, a forecaster for the National Weather Service in Grand Junction.

Cliff Thompson can be reached via e-mail at or by calling 949-0555, ext. 450.

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