S.E. Colorado Drought Information Statement, November 2020

DROUGHT INFORMATION STATEMENT

Moderate to Exceptional Drought Continues Across South Central and Southeast Colorado…

SYNOPSIS…

October was another month of extremes across south central and southeast Colorado. The first half of the month saw extremely warm and mainly dry conditions statewide, with Colorado Springs (87F) and Pueblo (94F)
both tying their respective record high monthly temperatures. This was followed by record cold temperatures and record snowfall, as another unseasonably cold and strong weather system moved across the state October 25th through October 27th. This unseasonably cold system allowed for Pueblo to also set its coldest October day when the low temperature dropped to -8 degrees on October 26th. This storm system also brought some beneficial precipitation to portions of the southeast mountains and into the San Luis Valley.

With that said, the latest US Drought Monitor, issued Thursday November 12th 2020, indicates exceptional drought (D4) conditions across southwestern portions of Mineral County as well as central portions of Kiowa County.

Severe drought (D3) conditions are indicated across southeastern Conejos County, southern Costilla County, and western and southern portions of Las Animas County into central portions of Baca County. Severe drought (D3) conditions are also depicted across most of Teller and El Paso Counties, extreme northern portions of Pueblo County, most of Crowley County, western and eastern portions of Kiowa County, extreme northeastern portions of Otero County, northern and eastern portions of Bent County and all of Prowers County.

Severe drought (D2) conditions are indicated for portions of Crowley County, southern Huerfano County, as well as the rest of Las Animas, Otero, Bent and Baca Counties.

FIRE DANGER…

Very warm, dry and occasionally windy conditions through much of October brought extreme fire danger across the state, with several new and old wildfires exploding across western and northern portions of Colorado. This includes the East Troublesome fire in Grand County, which grew and estimated 100,000 acres in one night, as well as the
Cameron Peak fire, which has become the largest wildfire in state history coming in at just over 200,000 acres. Cooler and more unsettled weather at the end of October helped to tapper fire danger somewhat, though warm and breezy conditions into early November continues to keep fire danger in the moderate to high category across
much of the state.

The latest information on fire bans and restrictions across the area can be found at: www.coemergency.com/p/fire-bans-danger.html

AGRICULTURAL…

For the week ending November 8th, 2020, the USDA Colorado Crop Progress Report indicated 80 percent of topsoil moisture across the state rated at short or very short, compared to 82 percent being reported at short or very short the previous week and to only 42 percent reported at short or very short at this same time last year.

Subsoil moisture indicated similar conditions, with 82 percent being reported as short or very short statewide, as compared to 77 percent being reported at short or very short the previous week and to only 38 percent reported at short or very short at this same time last year.

HYDROLOGIC…

NRCS data indicated statewide precipitation for the month of October was at 42 percent of average, as compared to 87 percent average at this same time last year.

In the Arkansas basin, NRCS data indicated October precipitation was at 58 percent of average, as compared to 83 percent of average at this same time last year.

In the Rio Grande basin, NRCS data indicated October precipitation was 54 percent of average, as compared to 85 percent of average at this same time last year.

NRCS data also indicated statewide water storage was at 81 percent of average overall at the end of October, compared to the 109 percent of average storage available statewide at this same time last year.

In the Arkansas Basin, water storage at the end of October came in at 1 percent of average overall, as compared to 107 percent of average storage available at this same time last year.

In the Rio Grande Basin, water storage at the end of October came in t 68 percent of average overall, as compared to 90 percent of average storage available at this same time last year.

CLIMATE SUMMARY…

The average temperature in Pueblo for the past month of October was 1.5 degrees, which is 0.3 degrees below normal. Pueblo recorded 0.67 inches of precipitation through the month of October, which is 0.05 inches below normal. Pueblo recorded 11.1 inches of snow in October.  his is 9.8 inches above normal and makes October of 2020 the 4th snowiest October on record in Pueblo. This remains behind the snowiest October, 1991, when 16.3 inches of snow was recorded.

Pueblo set two daily record high temperatures through the month of October, as well as tying the October monthly record high temperature of 94 degrees (October 3rd, 2018, October 11th, 2015 and October 16th, 1991) on October 14th. Pueblo set three daily record low temperatures in October, including a new October record low temperature of -8 degrees on the 26th, as an unseasonably strong and cold storm system moved across the state October 25th through October 27th. Pueblo also set a daily record low maximum temperature of 17 degrees on October 26th,
which also set a new October record for the coldest maximum temperature, besting the previous coldest maximum temperature of 22 degrees on October 30th, 2019. Pueblo also set two new daily snowfall records in October.

 

 

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