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Measuring SWE with Pagosa Weather

Pagosa Weather organizes a small army of local citizen scientists who measure and report Snow Water Equivalents, SWE. Volunteers are trained in how to measure accumulated snow. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), SWE means the depth of water that would cover the ground if the snow cover was in a liquid state.

Methods of measuring snow here in San Juan Water Conservancy District include Snowtography at Jackson Mountain, Snow Telemetry (SnoTel) at Wolf Creek Pass, and Pagosa Weather’s measuring SWE all over Archuleta County.

Arleen and Shawn Prochazka currently lead Pagosa Weather, a nonprofit organized in 2016. They are NWS Weather Ready Nation Ambassadors, Pagosans who are United States Air Force veterans and nationally recognized meteorologists. Arleen leads the citizen scientists and the Pagosa Weather Board of Directors. Volunteers are trained in how to be consistent and accurate in measuring snow depth and also in providing valuable rain, hail, and snow data to CoCoRaHS. Pagosa Weather is the official coordinator of the Community Collaborative Rain Hail and Snow Network, or CoCoRaHS.

The Pagosa Weather website contains a plethora of information, all related to water in the San Juan Water Conservancy District. Everything from forecasts to monthly precipitation summaries to current webcams can be found at www.pagosaweather.org. Contact them to become a citizen scientist providing relevant data to SJWCD’s mission.

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