McPhee Reservoir recovering from deficit

Cortez's rainfall in September of 2.74 inches has more than doubled the 30-year average, of 1.31 inches as of Monday, said National Weather Service observer Jim Andrus.

"We're still seeing the benefits of the monsoon season, and catching the edge of recent tropical storms in Mexico," Andrus said. "We're doing much better than last year."

The recent rains have bumped up the flows on the Dolores River, helping to fill McPhee Reservoir, Dolores Water Conservancy District manager Mike Preston said.

"Since September 11, we have gained 12,211 acre-feet in storage," Preston said. "The increase is a combination of all of the recent rains and lower irrigation demand. Chances look good that at the beginning of the new water year, November 1, we will have better storage than a year ago."

It is tempting to predict that good monsoons translate to heavy snowfall for winter, but historically that is not the case, said Joe Ramey, a weather service meteorologist in Grand Junction.

"Since 1950, there has not been a correlation of a wet fall to a wet winter during El Niņo-neutral years, which is what we have now," he said. "This is similar to the wet fall in 2001, which resulted in a dry winter for your area."