Dust storms hasten snowmelt

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Dust storms hasten snowmelt

Rapid runoff bad news for many
What snow that remains on the La Plata Mountains has been partially covered with dust from the recent storms, and that will cause the snow to melt faster.
A dry Junction Creek near Main Avenue on Friday, normally should have some water this time of year. The creek’s below-average flow is consistent with the state’s limited snowpack.
JERRY McBRIDE/Durango Herald

A dry Junction Creek near Main Avenue on Friday, normally will have a strong flow this time of year.
Matt Wilson, left, and Bryce Whalen take part in a swiftwater rescue course put on by Rapid Action Rescue on Saturday morning at Santa Rita Park. Chris Landry, director of the Center for Snow & Avalanche Studies in Silverton, says he expects recent dust storms to spike the pace of the runoff once warm weather arrives.
Information

The Animas River was flowing at 225 cubic feet per second early Friday.
No one knows what the peak flow will be this year.
But U.S. Geological Survey records show that peak flow in cubic feet per second in Durango for 2008 to 2012 were, respectively, 6,220 on May 21; 5,510 on May 12; 5,140 on May 29; 5,570 on June 7 and 2,290 on May 6.
The lowest flow recorded since 1898 was in 2002, the year of the Missionary Ridge Fire, when the river gauge in Durango registered 1,080 cfs on Sept. 12.
On June 7, 1977, the peak reached 1,460 cfs, the only other time the maximum fell in the 1,000 range.
The granddaddy of them all occurred on Oct. 5, 1911, when the Animas was flowing at 25,000 cfs. On only one other occasion could the flow have stirred anxiety, which would have been June 29, 1927, when the gauge recorded 20,000 cfs

Dust storms hasten snowmelt

What snow that remains on the La Plata Mountains has been partially covered with dust from the recent storms, and that will cause the snow to melt faster.
A dry Junction Creek near Main Avenue on Friday, normally should have some water this time of year. The creek’s below-average flow is consistent with the state’s limited snowpack.
JERRY McBRIDE/Durango Herald

A dry Junction Creek near Main Avenue on Friday, normally will have a strong flow this time of year.
Matt Wilson, left, and Bryce Whalen take part in a swiftwater rescue course put on by Rapid Action Rescue on Saturday morning at Santa Rita Park. Chris Landry, director of the Center for Snow & Avalanche Studies in Silverton, says he expects recent dust storms to spike the pace of the runoff once warm weather arrives.
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