GRAND VALLEY, Colo. (KREX) — The Grand Valley has become a winter wonderland in just 24 hours. Meteorologist Chris Knoll forecasted rain and snow chances for the entire last week of 2021 before Christmas.

As of 2:30, Tuesday afternoon, he has an update what’s expected now that system is here.

“We saw around four-ish inches in the Grand Junction area and Western Slope,” Certified Meteorologist Chris Knoll shares, “Once we start going to the evening, we’ll see the start of the final snow system that we’re going to see coming up for the next few days as heavier snow falls or in the afternoon hours on New Year’s Eve. As for the new year, the first few days are looking to be a little bit dry.”

“What’s coming down on the ground is a mixture of snow and ice,” Cora Dickey reports, “It not only makes for a good snowball, but also a great impact on current drought conditions.”

Ute Water uses water from 31 reservoirs on the Grand Mesa, with Jerry Creek as its terminal. The official Snotel measure of nearby reservoirs, the indicators Ute Water use, show Mesa Reservoir is now at 169 percent and Park Reservoir is now at 147 percent of its 10 year averages.

A perfect example of why Ute Water’s Andrea Lopez says every snow day matters.

“Snow storms like this and the storms that we see in the late spring really help fill area reservoirs in and help us get really healthy watersheds as we enter into the drier months in the summer, where we also see more demand from our customers,” Ute Water External Affairs Manager Andrea Lopez informs.

It’s too early in the water year to know how the latest winter storms will ultimately impact the area, but rain and snow in recent months sets up hopeful signs.

“The snow storms we see, like today, really help us get a good base that helps us build our watersheds every year,” Lopez elaborates, “We’re hopeful that helped the ground and the environment really get the moisture that it needed, so that these are storms that we’re going to see, now and later, they’ll give us good runoff.”

That’s progress in the right direction.

“More importantly, we’re very encouraged because we’re above where we were in averages for significant drought years like 2018, 2002,” Lopez mentions, “We’re excited to see this snowstorm and we’re hopeful to see what we have in the future.”

Updates on drought conditions are monitored year round, but the official drought update following this and other storms won’t be out until March.