Southeast Colorado Drought Update from NWS Pueblo for February 20, 2022

 

Drought Persists across South Central and Southeast Colorado

SYNOPSIS:

After a very warm and dry start to the 2022 Water-Year (October 1- September 30), December storms brought abundant snowfall to the higher terrain along the Continental Divide. Unfortunately, not much of this precipitation made it past the Continental Divide during the first month of 2021-2022 winter season. However, storms through January and February thus far, have brought more focused precipitation to northern and eastern portions of Colorado, and has helped to temper drought conditions across the northeastern Colorado plains. While there has been some beneficial moisture across southeast Colorado through the last half of the winter season, it has not been enough to bring any widespread improvements in the drought.

With that said, the latest US Drought Monitor issued Thursday, February 17th, 2022, indicates extreme drought (D3) conditions across southern Las Animas County and the southern 2/3rds of Baca County.

Severe drought (D2) conditions are indicated across most of the rest of southeast Colorado, including the rest of Las Animas and Baca Counties, as well as most of Crowley County, Otero County, Kiowa County, Bent County and Prowers County.

FIRE DANGER:

Somewhat cooler, less windy, and wetter weather, with occasional snow cover across the southeast plains, has helped to temper fire danger across eastern Colorado over the past month of January and much of February thus far. However, fuels remain dry, leading to continued moderate to high fire danger when windy weather prevails.

AGRICULTURE:

The somewhat cooler, less windy and wetter conditions over the past month has brought slight improvements in soil moisture conditions across southeast Colorado per short term (1 month) Evaporative Demand Drought Index (EDDI) data. However, CPC subsoil data and longer term (2 and 3 month) EDDI data, continues to indicate very dry conditions across much of south central and especially southeast Colorado.

HYDROLOGIC:

NRCS data indicated February 1st, statewide snowpack was at 106 percent of median, compared to 135 percent of median at this time last year.

In the Arkansas basin, the February 1st snowpack came in at 91 percent of median, as compared to 103 percent of median at this time last year. Although January storms brought some snow to southern portions of the basin, there remain differences in snowpack conditions, with southern portions of the basin still lagging behind the northern and the headwaters region of the Arkansas basin.

In the Rio Grande basin, the February 1st snowpack came in at 89 percent of median, as compared to 78 percent of median at this time last year. NRCS data indicated differences in snowpack conditions as well, with eastern portions of the basin lagging behind western portions or the Basin.

NRCS data also indicated statewide water storage was at 78 percent of median overall at the end of January, as compared to the 84 percent of median storage available at this time last year.

In the Arkansas Basin, water storage at the end of January came in at 92 percent of median overall, as compared to the 68 percent of median storage available at this same time last year.

In the Rio Grande Basin, water storage at the end of January came in at 96 percent of median overall, as compared to the 73 percent of median storage available at this time last year.

CLIMATE SUMMARY:

The average temperature in Pueblo for the past month of January was 32.0 degrees, which is 0.1 degrees above normal. Pueblo recorded 0.50 inches of precipitation and 4.6 inches of snow through the month of January, which is 0.21 inches above normal and 0.3 inches below normal, respectively.

PRECIPITATION/TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK:

The Climate Prediction Center (CPC) outlook for the next week indicates better chances of below normal temperatures and near normal precipitation across south central and southeast Colorado, save for better chances of above normal precipitation along and west of the Continental Divide.  The outlook for the rest of February, March and April indicates better chances for above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation across south central and southeast Colorado.

Filed Under: AgricultureCountyEnvironmentFeaturedWaterWeather

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