CWCB January 2019 Drought Update

January 2019 Drought Map

As of January 22nd, exceptional drought, D4, continues to affect southern Colorado covering 2.8 percent of the state, extreme drought, D3, covers 19 percent of the state; severe drought 20 percent and 26 percent is classified as moderate drought. An additional 16 percent of the state is currently experiencing abnormally dry conditions.

Forecasters expect a weak El Niño to form and persist through Spring of 2019, however given the timing it is unclear the impact that this weak event will have the remainder of the winter months.

SNOTEL water year to-date precipitation statewide is 107 percent of average, but ranges from 87 percent of average in the Upper Rio Grande basins to 130 percent of average in the Arkansas River Basin. The Southwest basins are the only other area below normal at 98 percent while the Yampa- White, Gunnison, South Platte, Colorado, North Platte are all near normal at 109,112,115,114 and 105 percent respectively.

Reservoir storage, statewide is at 81 percent of normal, with the Arkansas, South Platte, Colorado, and Yampa-White, all above 90 percent of average at the start of the calendar year. Storage in the Upper Rio Grande basin is 80 percent of normal. The Southwest basins of the San Miguel, Dolores, Animas & San Juan, and Gunnison are now at 56 and 58 percent of normal, respectively. Individual reservoir storage levels are highly variable statewide, some reservoirs have strong storage while storage in other reservoirs is at near record low levels for this time of year.

Long term forecasts indicate an increased likelihood of above average temperatures statewide February through April and an increased likelihood of above average precipitation over the same time period.

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