2/24/22 Thursday 11:00 am
― WINTER MAINTENANCE OPERATIONS UPDATE ―
Thurs., Feb. 24
US 160 Wolf Creek Pass – Open
Avalanche mitigation has been completed. Operations were completed just before 8 a.m. A maintenance supervisor reports that previous mitigation this week was productive since no significant amounts of snow hit the roadway. He also stated that by 05:30 this morning, Wolf Creek Pass received 40” of snow for this storm event.
US 550 Mountain Corridor – Remains Closed
Three crews are currently conducting avalanche mitigation along the corridor. An additional road crew is working on highway snow removal. The morning’s priority is to open the highway south from Silverton as soon as possible, potentially by early afternoon. Once Coal Bank and Molas passes are open, crews will focus on Red Mountain Pass, possibly through tomorrow.
Storm Recap And Totals
This was a challenging storm. It was the areas closest to that stalled boundary that I pointed out in my overnight update early Wednesday morning that did very well.
The models anticipated that cold air would be in place by the time the second storm came in. The stalled boundary over the San Juans also extended over to and down the continental divide. This delayed the second storm back west and it delivered the moisture right over SE Utah into the San Juans in SW flow.
Although Telluride doesn’t do as well with SW flow, the stalled boundary had some energy left and the cold air created an overrunning event. Basically, that is moisture streaming over a cold pool of air at the surface leading to enhanced snow production.
Eventually, the moisture “ran out” for lack of a better term and the second storm brought most areas just colder air. The exception was Wolf Creek where the upslope flow continued to wring out plenty of moisture into the early morning hours.
It is common for a front to stall over the San Juans, it is less common for it to stall for days. I talk about a perfect storm at times in my updates. This was an example of a perfect storm for the higher altitudes. For everyone else, not so much.
I waited a while to post this update because I wanted to get everyone’s totals who wanted to send them to me.
Here they are:
Wolf Creek 43″
2 miles S of Purgatory at 9,000′ 41.6″
Silverton Ski Area 40″
Haviland Lake 32″
Lake Purgatory 30″
Glacier Club 19″
Upper Durango Hills 15.5″
Dolores Rustic Ridge 15″
3 miles south of Mancos 11.75″
Durango WestII 9.25″
Bayfield 228@502 7″
Rafter J 4.25″
Oxford 1″ Gem Village 1/2″
My next update will be Friday morning. I am already on the hunt for our next storm. Thanks for following and supporting the site!