When Colorado enjoys above-average mountain snowpack, the map of alpine basins provided by the Natural Resources Conservation Service is bathed in soothing colors like blue, green and purple. This year, it looks alarmist, smoldering with red, orange and yellow. Indeed, the latest NRCS map paints the entire southwest corner of Colorado in a stop-sign hue, indicating snowpack below 50 percent of median. Of the eight main watersheds measured by NRCS, only the Upper Rio Grande (at 33 percent of normal) is currently drier than here in the San Miguel, Dolores, Animas and San Juan river drainages, where mountain snowpack remains a meager 35 percent of normal. In year-to-date precipitation, though, the Four Corners region is Colorado’s most parched, having welcomed only 29 percent of normal rain and snow compared to 64 percent statewide. Yikes, you might say, if you’re not too cotton-mouthed. While most of Colorado currently is classified as “abnormally dry,” the Western Slope is significantly worse. According to the Department of Agriculture’s drought monitor, the San Miguel, Dolores, Animas and San Juan watersheds officially moved from “moderate drought” to “severe drought” on Jan. 2. To view the full article visit the Telluride News.