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Drought Expands Throughout S.E. Colorado

 

April 2018 Drought Map

DROUGHT INFORMATION STATEMENT – National Weather Service  

Severe to Extreme Drought continues to expand across Southern Colorado… 

SYNOPSIS 

The month of March came in like a “Lamb” across Colorado, with a warm, dry and windy weather pattern persisting through most of the month, especially across Southeastern Colorado. A few weather systems moved across the area towards the end of the month, however, the greatest precipitation associated with these systems stayed across northern portions of the state. 

With that said, the latest US Drought Monitor, issued Thursday April 12th, 2018 has expanded extreme drought (D3) conditions across eastern Las Animas County, southeastern Otero County and across the southern half of Bent County. Extreme drought (D3) conditions remain indicated across the southern half of Prowers County and Baca County. Extreme drought (D3) conditions have also expanded across South Central Colorado and now includes southwestern Mineral County, southwestern through northeastern Conejos County, most of Alamosa County, Costilla County, southeastern Saguache County, extreme southern Custer County, and western portions of Huerfano and Las Animas Counties. 

Severe drought (D2) conditions have also expanded across Southeast Colorado and now include most of Pueblo County, eastern El Paso County, and the rest of the Southeast Plains, including eastern and Huerfano County, central Las Animas County, Crowley County, Kiowa County and the rest of Otero, Bent and Prowers Counties. Severe drought (D2) condition continue to be indicated across southwestern portions of Chaffee County, the rest of Mineral, Conejos and Saguache Counties, extreme southern Fremont County, the rest of Custer and Alamosa Counties, as well as Rio Grande County. 

Moderate drought (D1) conditions remain depicted across western Lake County, the rest of Chaffee and Fremont Counties, as well as Teller County and Western El Paso County. Abnormally dry (D0) conditions are indicated across eastern Lake County. 

FIRE DANGER… 

Warm and dry conditions across the region over the past several months, combined with abundant cured fuels, has allowed for moderate to high fire danger to develop and persist across much of South

Central and Southeast Colorado. Over the past month, occasional windy periods associated with passing weather systems, allowed for several wildfires to develop and quickly spread across the area. The warm, dry and windy weather has also prompted area land management agencies to enact new fire restrictions. 

AGRICULTURAL… 

The very warm and dry late Fall and Winter has helped to dry out soil moisture across south central and southeast Colorado, with the greatest deficits being realized across the Southeast Colorado Plains. 

HYDROLOGIC… 

The April 1st statewide snowpack came in at 68 percent of median and is only 64 percent of the snowpack available at this same time last year. The statewide snowpack continues to indicate the best conditions across northern portions of the state, with rapidly diminishing conditions across southern portions of the state. 

In the Arkansas Basin, April 1st snowpack came in at 55 percent of median, and is only 46 percent of the available snowpack at this same time last year. As with the state as a whole, there remain big differences in the distribution of said snowpack, with the northern portions of the Arkansas Basin coming in at 75 percent of median, while the southern portions of the basin are running around 20 percent of median. 

In the Rio Grande Basin, April 1st snow pack came in at 48 percent of median, which is only 43 percent of last year’s snowpack at this same time. 

Water storage across the state at the end of March remained around 114 percent of average overall, as compared to 110 percent of average storage available at this same time last year. 

In the Arkansas Basin, end of March storage was at 131 percent of average overall, as compared to 101 percent of average storage available at this same time last year. Reservoir storage in the Arkansas Basin remains the highest in the state. 

In the Rio Grande Basin, end of March storage was around 119 percent of average overall, as compared to 99 percent of average storage available at this same time last year. 

With below to well below median snowpack, especially over Southern Colorado, streamflow forecasts for the Spring and Summer continue to be below average statewide. Near average to below average flows are projected across northern portions of the state, with below to well below average flows across the southern half of the state. 

CLIMATE SUMMARY… 

ThE Climate Prediction Center (CPC) outlook for the next week indicates equal chances for above, below and near normal temperatures and precipitation across South Central and Southeast Colorado. The outlook for rest of April, May and June continues to indicate a better chances for warmer than normal temperatures and below normal precipitation across the region.

 

Filed Under: AgricultureCity of GranadaCity of HollyCity of LamarCity of WileyCountyEnvironmentFeaturedMedia ReleasePublic SafetyRecreationTourismWeather

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