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Drought Conditions Continue to Improve across Southeast Colorado

October 2018 Drought Map

October Drought Information Statement from National Weather Service

Abundant precipitation over the Summer of 2018 across southeast Colorado has continued throughout the early Fall, with several weather systems bringing more beneficial precipitation across the area in September and October. This abundant moisture has brought an end to the drought across portions of the far Southeastern Colorado Plains, as well as helped to ease the drought across portions of South

Central and Southeast Colorado.

With that said, the latest US Drought Monitor, issued Thursday November 1st, is indicating most of Baca County, as well as eastern portions of Prowers and Kiowa Counties, as drought free.

However, the current map continues to depict portions of South Central and Southeast Colorado deep in drought, with Exceptional Drought (D4) conditions indicated across most of Mineral County and extreme western portions of Conejos County, as well as across portions of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of Southern Colorado, which includes portions of Costilla, Huerfano, Alamosa, Custer and Saguache Counties.

Extreme Drought (D3) conditions remain depicted across Las Animas Counties and extreme southwestern portions of Pueblo County.

Severe Drought (D2) conditions are also depicted across the rest of Pueblo and Huerfano, Counties, extreme western portions of Otero County and western into central portions of Las Animas County.

Moderate Drought (D1) conditions are also indicated across Crowley County, most of Otero County, western Kiowa County, extreme northwestern Bent County and central into eastern portions of Las Animas County.

Abnormally Dry (D0) conditions are indicated across northeastern Teller and northwestern El Paso Counties, central into eastern Kiowa County, extreme southeastern Otero County, the rest of Bent County, western Prowers County, eastern Las Animas County, and extreme northwestern and southwestern portions of Baca County.

FIRE DANGER…

Summer and early Fall precipitation has helped to ease fire danger across much of South Central and Southeast Colorado. However, with cured fuels and more windy weather associated with the late Fall and Winter seasons, fire danger could increase again across the area over the next few months.

AGRICULTURAL…

Summer and early Fall precipitation has helped to improve soil moisture, especially across southeastern portions of the state. The latest monthly Evaporative Demand Index across indicating near normal to well above moisture across the area. However, longer term dryness continues to be indicated across South Central Colorado and into the Eastern Mountains.

HYDROLOGIC…

After a subpar 2018 Water Year (October 2017-September 2018) across Colorado as a whole, the 2019 Water Year has gotten off to a great start. Statewide snowpack on November 1st came in at 138 percent of average overall, with the Southern Basins coming in with the most snow pack, which is a total switch over the previous few years. Although it is too early in the season to draw any conclusions on the overall Water Year, it certainly is a good start to the water year.

In the Arkansas Basin, the November 1st snowpack came in at 189 percent of average, with the Upper Rio Grande Basin coming in at 216 percent of average. Again, it is too early in the season for these numbers to have much weight, but is certainly a much better start to the Water Year, especially across the Rio Grande Basin.

With the hot and dry conditions over the past several months, especially across western portions of the state, statewide water storage came in at 80 percent of average overall at the end of September, as compared to 117 percent of average storage available statewide at the same time last year.

In the Arkansas Basin, end of September storage came in at 104 percent of average overall, as compared to 157 percent of average storage available at the same time last year.

In the Rio Grande Basin, end of September storage came in at 88 percent of average overall, as compared to 125 percent of average storage available at the same time last year.

PRECIPITATION/TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK

The Climate Prediction Center (CPC) outlook for the next week indicates better chances of above near normal temperatures and better chances of above normal precipitation across South Central and Southeast Colorado. The outlook for the rest November, December and January indicate better chances for warmer than normal temperatures and above precipitation across the area, save equal chances of above, below and near normal precipitation across northern Colorado.

 

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