CWCB August 2019 Drought Update

August 2019 Drought Map


August has been warmer than average across the majority of the state and each basin, except for the Republican basin, has experienced below average precipitation. The North American monsoon season has been disappointing in Colorado and other parts of the Southwestern U.S. The monsoon season sometimes results in beneficial moisture for south central Colorado and the eastern half of the state. Despite not receiving monsoon moisture, statewide precipitation for the Water Year, at mountain SNOTEL sites, is at 114% of average.

Drought Map, August 21, 2018


After being the last state to experience a drought free U.S. Drought Monitor Map, which lasted eight weeks from late May through mid-July, D0 has been introduced in various parts of the state. A portion of southwestern Colorado was downgraded to D1, moderate drought conditions. Reservoir storage across the state continues to be a bright spot at 116% of average.


  • According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, released August 29, D0, abnormally dry has been introduced in the central mountains and has expanded in the southwest part of the state. D0 has shown up in pockets in Las Animas, El Paso & Larimer counties. D1, moderate drought, has been introduced back in La Plata & Montezuma counties.


  • The weak El Niño has officially ended in favor of neutral conditions. The long term ENSO forecasts are trending toward neutral conditions remaining through the winter.


  • Statewide monthly precipitation as of August 26 at mountain SNOTEL sites has been 56% of average. For the Water Year, statewide precipitation is 114% of average. The Climate Prediction Center’s one month outlook is predicting above average precipitation and temperature for most of the state for September.


  • Reservoir storage across the state (as of the end of July) is 116% of average and 78% of capacity. At this time last year, statewide reservoir storage was at 86% of average. The Gunnison basin has seen significant recovery after storage was depleted last year. The South Platte basin reservoirs are in the best shape since the late 1990s.


  • Water providers in attendance report their systems are in decent shape but water demand has increased due to above average temperatures in the past several weeks.


  • Some agricultural producers are reporting that corn is behind schedule due to a late start to the season. They are hopeful that frost will not occur before the crops reach maturity.

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