"Which Blizzard?" some may think when they see this headline. Not since 1968 has Monticello been hit with such an unending string of heavy snowfall. Last week, Editor Boyle described the blizzard that blew through January 27 and 28. It closed the highways in all directions from Monticello, but churches and schools continued to operate.
About midnight on Saturday, February 2, it started to snow again and did not let up until long after dark on Sunday night. It was difficult to tell how much snow was piling up with the wind blowing, but there were drifts over 10 feet deep in places.
Many church services were cancelled Sunday Morning. The highways in and out of Monticello were closed for a good part of the time because of blowing snow and white-out conditions. School in the San Juan School District was canceled Monday as residents tried to dig out… again!
This winter has been the greatest producer of snow in recent memory. Even the magnificent water year in 2005 did not dump as much snow in Monticello. Some old timers, including myself, say that 40 years ago (l968) was the last time we had snow depths of this kind.
In 1949, which the even older timers call the “mother of all bad winters,” I was only six years old and vaguely remember it. But winter is only half over, so maybe future generations will talk about the great winter of 2008 as the benchmark for snow comparisons.
At the 8,600 foot Camp Jackson Snotel measuring station on the Abajo mountains, there were 61” of snow with a water content of 17.5” early Sunday morning. It snowed nearly an inch an hour all day and by that night there were 75” of snow with 19.8” of water.
The winter of 2008 is already one of the wettest years since snow measurements began some 30 years ago, and with a few more storms, it may set the all time record for both snow depths and water content.
Better start draining Loyd’s Lake. Too bad the much bigger dam now on the drawing boards for Pine Ridge is not built. It may be years before another winter like this one.
At the moment it appears the “inconvenient truth” is that we may flood away instead of blow away in the spring. San Juan County has had below average moisture for the past decade. So despite the temporary inconvenience, many are grateful for the bounteous moisture, and the blessing it will be in the spring and summer.