DROUGHT INFORMATION STATEMENT-National Weather Service – May 20 2021

 

 

Storm Clouds Forming West of Lamar

 

Spring Storms Bring Abundant Moisture to Eastern Colorado 

SYNOPSIS: 

Late winter and early spring storm systems have provided abundant and much needed moisture to eastern Colorado. Precipitation through the middle of May is also proving up to task, thus far, with widespread 2-to-3-inch amounts recorded across southeastern Colorado, along with pockets of 4 to 6 inches of precipitation recorded across the southeast mountains. 

With that said, the latest US Drought Monitor, issued Thursday May 20th 2021, indicates marked improvement in drought conditions across southeast Colorado, especially across southwestern portions of Pueblo County and east central Huerfano County, where the US Drought Monitor has eliminated any designation of drought. 

The latest US Drought Monitor indicates severe drought (D2) conditions across southeast Colorado now limited to southern portions of Las Animas County, with severe drought (D2) conditions also persisting across Mineral County and western portions of Saguache County. 

Moderate drought (D1) conditions are now indicated across portions of Kiowa County, northeastern portions of Bent County, northwestern portions of Prowers County, extreme southeastern Costilla County, central portions of Las Animas County and extreme southwestern Baca County.  

Abnormally dry (D0) conditions are also indicated across Crowley and Otero Counties, as well as the rest of Kiowa, Bent, Prowers and Baca Counties. Abnormally dry (D0) conditions are also depicted across eastern Saguache County, Alamosa County, eastern Rio Grande County, and north central portions of Conejos County. 

FIRE DANGER: 

Abundant moisture across much of south central and southeast Colorado has helped to accelerate green up and curtail fire danger across the region.

AGRICULTURAL: 

Recent precipitation has helped to replenish soil moisture across eastern Colorado, with data from the May 16th, 2021 USDA Colorado Crop Progress Report indicating western portions of the Colorado remaining extremely dry. The Crop Progress Report indicates 35 percent of topsoil conditions around the state rated at short or very short, as compared to 53 percent being rated at short or very short in the previous week. As for subsoil moisture, 56 percent were rated at short or very short, compared to 64 percent being rated at short or very short in the previous week. 

HYDROLOGIC: 

NRCS data indicated May 1st statewide snowpack was down to 72 percent of median, which is 79 percent of the available snowpack at this same time last year. However, with the abundant precipitation through the middle of May thus far, statewide snowpack as of May 20th remains at 72 percent of median, with notable gains in the eastern basins. 

In the Arkansas basin, May 1st snowpack was at 76 percent of median, which is 101 percent of the available snowpack at this same time last year. However, as of May 20th, snowpack in the Arkansas basin is at 81 percent of average overall. 

In the Rio Grande basin May 1st snowpack was down to 58 percent of median, which is 128 percent of the available snowpack at this same time last year. However, the Rio Grande snowpack has fallen to 45 percent of average overall, as of May 20th. 

NRCS data also indicated statewide water storage was at 85 percent of average overall at the end of April, compared to the 100 percent of average storage available statewide at this same time last year. 

In the Arkansas Basin, water storage at the end of April came in at 69 percent of average overall, as compared to 87 percent of average storage available at this same time last year. 

In the Rio Grande Basin, water storage at the end of April came in at 74 percent of average overall, as compared to 78 percent of average storage available at this same time last year. 

May 1st streamflow forecasts in the Arkansas basin ranged from 81 percent of average on the Cucharas River near La Veta, to 64 percent of average on the Chalk Creek near Nathrop in the May to July

timeframe. However, June 1st stream flow forecasts may increase due to the abundant precipitation across the Arkansas basin through the month of May thus far. 

May 1st streamflow forecasts in the Rio Grande basin range from 76 percent of average on Culebra Creek at San Luis, to 27 percent of average on the San Antonio River at Oritz in the May to July timeframe. 

CLIMATE SUMMARY: 

The average temperature in Alamosa for the past month of April was 42.4 degrees, which is 0.6 degrees above normal. Alamosa recorded 0.21 inches of precipitation and 2.1 inches of snow through the month of April, which is 0.38 inches below normal and 1.5 inches below normal, respectively. 

The average temperature in Colorado Springs for the past month of April was 46.9 degrees, which is 0.4 degrees above normal. Colorado Springs recorded 0.75 inches of precipitation and 5.4 inches of snow in April, which is 0.67 inches below normal and 0.5 inches above normal, respectively. 

The average temperature in Pueblo for the past month of April was 51.1 degrees, which is 0.5 degrees above normal. Pueblo recorded 0.52 inches of precipitation and 4.1 inches of snow through April, which is 0.88 inches below normal and 0.3 inches above normal, respectively. 

PRECIPITATION/TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK: 

The Climate Prediction Center (CPC) outlook for the next two weeks indicate a slight nod to above normal temperature and below normal precipitation across south central and southeast Colorado. The outlook for June, July and August indicates better chances for above normal temperature and below normal precipitation across the area.

 

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