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Extreme Drought Spreads Across Southeastern Colorado

June 2018 Drought Map

 

 

NWS Pueblo  SYNOPSIS…Updated May 24, 2018

 

Spring weather systems throughout the month of May have produced beneficial precipitation across the State of Colorado. However, the bulk of the precipitation has been focused across northern portions of the state, with the precipitation received across Southern Colorado more spotty, and not enough to overcome the extremely warm and dry weather that was experienced over the Fall and Winter of 2017-2018.

With that said, the latest US Drought Monitor, issued Thursday May 24th, 2018 has expanded Extreme Drought (D3) conditions across most of eastern Pueblo County into Crowley County and southwestern Kiowa County.

The current Drought Monitor continues to indicate Exceptional Drought (D4) conditions across the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of Southern Colorado, which includes portions of Costilla, Las Animas, Huerfano, Alamosa, Custer and Saguache Counties.

Extreme Drought (D3) conditions continue to be depicted across most of Southern Colorado including Mineral, Rio Grande and Conejos Counties, southern portions of Saguache County, the rest of Alamosa and Costilla Counties, southern portions of Custer County, southwestern through northeastern Pueblo County, most of Crowley County, southwestern Kiowa County, Otero and Bent Counties, most of Prowers County, Baca County and the rest of Huerfano and Las Animas Counties.

Severe Drought (D2) conditions are depicted across southwestern portions of Chaffee County, the rest of Saguache and Custer Counties, southern portions of Fremont County, the rest of Pueblo County, southwestern through northwestern portions of El Paso County, as well as northern portions of Crowley and Prowers Counties and the rest of Kiowa County.

Moderate Drought (D1) conditions remain indicated across southwestern Lake County, the rest of Chaffee and Fremont Counties, as well as Teller County and the rest of El Paso County. Abnormally dry (D0) conditions continue to be 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. The recent precipitation and warm weather has prompted some sporadic green up and tempered fire danger some across portions of the Southeast Plains, however, many land management agencies continue to enforce fire bans and 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.

Those relying on agricultural water from snow melt, streamflow forecasts for the Spring and Summer continue to be below average statewide. Near to below average flows are projected across northern portions of the state, with below to well below average flows expected across the southern portions of the state.

HYDROLOGIC…

The May 1st statewide snowpack came in at 57 percent of median and is only 59 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, May 1st snowpack came in at 52 percent of median, and is only 42 percent of the available snowpack at this same time last year. As with the state as a whole, there remains a big difference in the distribution of said snowpack, with the northern portions of the Arkansas Basin coming in at 73 percent of median, while the southern portions of the basin were running at or below 5 percent of median.

In the Rio Grande Basin, May 1st snowpack came in at only 12 percent of median, which is only 12 percent of last year’s snowpack at this same time.

Water storage across the state at the end of April was around 111 percent of average overall, as compared to 113 percent of average storage available at this same time last year.

In the Arkansas Basin, end of April storage was at 129 percent of average overall, as compared to 106 percent of average storage available at this same time last year. Reservoir storage in the Arkansas Basin at the end of April was the highest in the state.

In the Rio Grande Basin, end of April storage was at 115 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, which may have already melted out across portions of Southern Colorado, streamflow forecasts for the Spring and Summer continue to be below average statewide.

In the Arkansas Basin, current streamflow forecasts range from 64 percent of average at the Arkansas River at Salida, to only 8 percent of average for Grape Creek near Westcliffe.

In the Rio Grande Basin, current streamflow forecasts range from 36 percent of average for the inflow at Platoro Reservoir, to only 3 percent of average for the San Antonio River at Ortiz.

PRECIPITATION/TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK…Updated

The Climate Prediction Center (CPC) outlook for the next week indicates better chances of above normal temperatures and equal chances for above, below and near normal precipitation across South

Central and Southeast Colorado. The outlook for June, July and August 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 into South Central Colorado.

Precipitation in inches for southeast Colorado between 1/1/17 – 6/11/17 and 1/1/18 – 6/11/18:

 

1/1/17 – 6/11/17 1/1/18 – 6/11/18

Walsh

7.90 3.03
Springfield 8.27

1.78

Las Animas

7.46 2.14
Cheyenne Wells 11.31

3.45

Crowley

8.88 2.00
Eads 7.71

2.99

Trinidad

12.57 4.51
La Junta 10.62

1.87

Holly

10.32 2.34
Lamar 10.06

2.57

Wiley

7.94

2.43

Filed Under: AgricultureCity of GranadaCity of HollyCity of LamarCity of WileyCountyEconomyEnvironmentEventsFeaturedRecreationTourismWeather

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