Crestone and vicinity were pounded by two record-setting snowstorms totaling over 45” in a five-day period between April 12 and 17.
Downtown Crestone on Easter Day—and the snow was still coming down!
The first storm, which hit on Easter Sunday, April 12, was an isolated event. The heavy snows fell mainly in the northern part of Sangre de Cristo Mountains and in the connected foothills of its western slope, but only from about Valley View Hot Springs south to about the Crestone area. The Great Sand Dunes National Park, just south of Crestone, also saw heavy snow, but not anywhere as much as the 26.8” Crestone received. In Moffat, 15” was reported; the middle of the San Luis Valley saw about 6” fall on average, yet to the west in Saguache and north to Villa Grove, only a couple of inches were recorded. Over on the eastern side of the Sangres, Westcliff reported between 5” to 7” of snow. There was little wind with this storm, but the snow fell heavy for several hours, averaging 2” per hour over a twelve-hour period.
Later in the week, as most snow from this storm melted away in the April sun, a new and massive snowstorm rolled across Colorado on Friday, April 17. This pesky storm, when at its peak in the late morning, deposited 7” of snow in just a two hour period. When it finally moved out the next day, 18.9” had fallen in Crestone, with some locations around town reporting over 22”. Unlike the first storm, most of Colorado felt this storm’s punch.
With these two storms, Crestone broke several records, including most snow in April, with 47.3” (as of April 18) and the all time record for most snow in a season, with 99.0”. The old record for a snow season was 93.7”, set back in 1997-98.