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Southern Colorado Drought Update

DROUGHT INFORMATION STATEMENT…Monsoonal Rains Bring Some Drought Relief to Southeast Colorado While Drought Conditions Deepen across South Central Colorado

SYNOPSIS…

Weather systems over the latter half of the Spring and throughout the past Summer of 2018 brought some much needed precipitation across the State of Colorado. However, the amounts of beneficial rainfall varied widely across the area, with monsoonal rains and slow moving thunderstorms most widespread across the far southeast Colorado Plains, as well as, across portions of the Pikes Peak Region. Across the rest of southeast and south central Colorado, summer monsoonal rains were spotty and generally not enough to overcome the extremely warm and dry weather that has been experienced across the area over the 2018 Water Year thus far.

With that said, the latest US Drought Monitor, issued Thursday September13th, is indicating continued improvements in drought conditions across the far southeast Plains, with eastern portions of Baca and Prowers Counties now depicted as drought free. The latest US Drought Monitor is also indicating drought conditions deepening across Western Colorado and into South Central Colorado.

On the current map, Exceptional Drought (D4) conditions are still indicated across the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of Southern Colorado, which includes portions of Costilla, Huerfano, Alamosa, Custer and Saguache Counties.

Extreme Drought (D3) conditions have now spread into western portions of Lake County and across most of Chaffee County. Extreme Drought (D3) conditions continue to be indicated across east central portions and southwest portions of Pueblo County, and extreme northwestern portions of Otero County. Extreme Drought (D3) conditions remain depicted across Mineral, Rio Grande, and Conejos Counties, along with the rest of Saguache, Alamosa, Costilla and Custer Counties, southwestern to south central portions of Fremont County, and western portions of Las Animas County.

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

Moderate Drought (D1) conditions are now depicted across central portions of Kiowa and Prowers Counties, as well as, northwestern and southwestern portions of Baca County, and northeast through southeast Las Animas County. Moderate Drought (D1) conditions remain across northeastern Fremont County, most of Teller County, and extreme southwestern portions and central portions of El Paso County.

Abnormally Dry (D0) conditions are now indicated across northeastern Teller and northwestern El Paso Counties, extreme north central and eastern Kiowa County, east central Las Animas County, and central Prowers and Baca Counties.

Eastern portions of Prowers and Baca Counties are now indicated as drought free.

FIRE DANGER…

Monsoonal rains 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 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. Fire danger is expected to increase across eastern portions of the area over the next few months, as drier and more windy weather associated with Fall, return to the region.

AGRICULTURAL…

Recent monsoonal rain has helped to improve soil moisture, especially across southeastern portions of the state. The latest USDA Colorado Crop Report ending the week of September 9th, indicated 39 percent of topsoil conditions across state rated at short or very short, as compared to 59 percent of statewide topsoil conditions rated as short or very short at the end of June. Subsoil moisture also showed a similar trend with 38 percent reported at short or very short across the state, as compared to 49 percent of subsoil moisture reported as short or very short at the end of June.

HYDROLOGIC…

With the hot and dry conditions, especially across western portions of the state, statewide water storage came in at 82 percent of average overall at the end of August, as compared to 119 percent of average storage available statewide at this same time last year.

In the Arkansas Basin, end of August storage came in at 99 percent of average overall, as compared to 147 percent of average storage available at this same time last year.

In the Rio Grande Basin, end of August storage came in at 87 percent of average overall, as compared to 131 percent of average storage available at this same time last year.

These are the precipitation levels for towns in southeast Colorado. The measurements are for June through August of 2017/2018 as well as from the beginning of each year to August 31st.

 

Summer 2017 8 Months 2017 Summer 2018 8 Months 2018
Springfield 9.87 18.45 7.76

9.53

Walsh

7.89 14.68 6.20 9.23
Las Animas 5.45 12.50 6.35

8.49

Crowley

4.72 11.69 3.57 6.32
Eads 11.21 18.43 5.99

8.98

Trinidad

6.95 17.88 4.47 8.84
La Junta 10.21 18.14 3.90

5.67

Holly

13.72 23.08 10.17 12.51
Lamar 8.15 17.30 6.58

6.30

 

Filed Under: AgricultureCity of HollyCity of LamarConsumer IssuesCountyEconomyEnvironmentFeaturedRecreationWeather

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