Series of snow storms greeted with joy, despite headaches
by David Boyle
A series of large snowstorms brought a ton of needed water to San Juan County, and some challenges to accompany it.
The series of storms has brought the deepest snow pack in area mountains for this time of the winter season in 18 years.
On Tuesday, January 17, San Juan School District schools were on a two-hour delay. With bus routes and the school day starting two hours later than normal. San Juan County employees also had a two-hour delayed start to their day.
The storm hit its most impactful point on travel Tuesday evening. For much of the evening and into the night highway 191 was closed from Spanish Valley to Monticello. The road later re-opened near 11:00 pm but only for vehicles with snow tires or chains. Similarly, restrictions on travel between Blanding and Monticello required snow tires or chains for the evening into the night as well as on Highway 491 from Monticello to the Colorado border.
On Wednesday, January 18 schools in the district mountain region, meaning Monticello, Blanding, and La Sal schools canceled in-person instruction. While other district schools followed a regular schedule, schools in the mountain region had online instruction so as to not have to make up the day. San Juan County was also once again on a two-hour delay.
On Friday, January 20 Navajo Mountain High students also had an online school day.
On Monday, January 23 Monument Valley schools had an early dismissal.
As of January 23, the 15.5 inches of water in the snow pack at the Camp Jackson Sno-tel station, in the Abajo Mountains, is the highest it has been on that date since 2005, when the snowpack held 21.9 inches of water. The current total is 224 percent of normal for the date.
Similarly, the snow pack in the La Sal Mountains (currently 14 inches of water at the La Sal Sno-Tel station) is 211 percent of normal.
For the month of January, Monticello has received nearly 4 inches of precipitation and 40 inches of snow.