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NWS Report: Monsoonal Rains Offer Some Relief to Drought Stricken Southeast Colorado

2018 August Drought Map

 

SYNOPSIS:

Weather systems over the past few months have brought some precipitation across the State of Colorado, with the Southwest Monsoon kicking in throughout the month of July, bringing more widespread and much needed moisture to much of Southeastern Colorado. Further west, the summer monsoonal rains have been more spotty and generally not enough to overcome the extremely warm and dry weather that has been experienced over past several months.

With that said, the latest US Drought Monitor, issued Thursday August 9th, is indicating one category improvements in drought conditions across most of the Southeast Plains.

Exceptional Drought (D4) conditions are now confined to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of Southern Colorado, which includes portions of Costilla, Huerfano, Alamosa, Custer and Saguache Counties.

Extreme Drought (D3) conditions are now indicated across east central portions and southwest portions of Pueblo County, northern portions of Otero County, the southern 2/3rds of Crowley County, southwestern portions of Kiowa County, and northwestern portions of Bent County. Extreme Drought (D3) conditions continue to be depicted across Mineral, Rio Grande, and Conejos Counties, along with the rest of Saguache, Alamosa, and Costilla Counties. Extreme Drought (D3) conditions are also indicated across southwestern Chaffee County, southwestern to south central portions of Fremont County, and western portions of Las Animas County.

Severe Drought (D2) conditions are now depicted across western Lake County, the rest of Chaffee County, northwestern through southeastern Fremont County, extreme southern and eastern portions of El Paso County, the rest of Pueblo, Huerfano, Las Animas, Crowley, Otero and Bent Counties, as well as western portions of Kiowa, Prowers and Baca Counties.

Moderate Drought (D1) conditions are now depicted across eastern Lake County, northeastern Fremont County, Teller County, the rest of El Paso and Prowers Counties, most of the rest of Kiowa County and central Baca County.

Abnormally Dry (D0) conditions are now indicated across extreme north central and northeast Kiowa County and eastern Baca County.

FIRE DANGER:

Monsoonal rains over the past month have helped to extinguish several large wildfires and has diminished the moderate to high fire danger conditions experienced across Southeast Colorado over the past several months. However, the lack of widespread rainfall across western portions of the state has allowed for several large wildfires continue to burn, along with a few new fire starts, as fire danger remains high. With that said, many land management agencies across eastern portions of the state have relaxed fire bans and restrictions, whereas western portions of the state continue to see strict fire bans enforced.

AGRICULTURAL:

Recent monsoonal rain has helped to improve soil moisture, especially across portions of the state. The latest USDA Colorado Crop Report indicated 35 percent of topsoil conditions across state were rated at short or very short, as compared 59 percent of statewide topsoil conditions rated as short or very short in July. Subsoil moisture also showed a similar trend with 32 percent reported at short or very short across the state, as compared to 55 percent of subsoil moisture reported as short or very short in July. However, some crops across the Eastern Plains have been damaged or destroyed by large hail and a few tornadoes, which accompanied some of the storms over the past month.

HYDROLOGIC:

With the hot and dry conditions, especially across western portions of the state, statewide water storage came in at 87 percent of average overall at the end of July, as compared to 115 percent of average storage available statewide at this same time last year. The combined San Miguel, Dolores, Animas and San Juan Basin in northwest Colorado has dropped to 52 percent of average storage overall, compared to 113 percent of average storage at this same time last year.

In the Arkansas Basin, end of July storage came in at 106 percent of average overall, as compared to 139 percent of average storage available at this same time last year.

In the Rio Grande Basin, end of July storage came in at 92 percent of average overall, as compared to 123 percent of average storage available at this same time last year.

PRECIPITATION/TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK:

The Climate Prediction Center (CPC) outlook for the next week indicates better chances of above normal temperatures and near normal precipitation across South Central and Southeast Colorado. The outlook for the rest August, September and October indicate better chances for warmer than normal temperatures and equal chances for above, below and near normal precipitation across the area, save a slight nod to above normal precipitation across western Colorado and into South Central Colorado.

Filed Under: AgricultureCity of GranadaCity of HollyCity of LamarCity of WileyCountyEnvironmentFeaturedMedia ReleaseWeather

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