Drought Information Statement from NWS-Pueblo

 

 

 

Drought Persists across South Central and Southeast Colorado

 

SYNOPSIS:

After a very warm and dry start to the Winter of 2021-2022, late December storms brought abundant snowfall to the higher terrain along the Continental Divide. January storms brought more focused precipitation to northern Colorado with a cold and unsettled February bringing some beneficial moisture to portions of south central and southeast Colorado through the last month of meteorological winter.  However, this precipitation has not been enough to bring any widespread improvements in the drought across the region.

With that said, the latest US Drought Monitor issued Thursday, March 10th, 2022, indicates extreme drought (D3) conditions across southeastern Saguache County, the eastern half of Rio Grande County, Alamosa County, the eastern 1/3 of Conejos County and most of Costilla County. Extreme drought (D3) conditions are also depicted across the southern tier of Las Animas County and the southern 2/3rds of Baca County.

Severe drought (D2) conditions are indicated across most of the rest of southeast and south central Colorado, including Fremont County, Custer County, Huerfano County, extreme northeastern Costilla County, southwestern Teller County, most of El Paso County, Pueblo County, Crowley County, Otero County, Kiowa County, Bent County, Prowers County and the rest of Las Animas and Baca Counties. Severe drought (D2) conditions are also depicted across eastern Chaffee County, the rest of Saguache County, northern Mineral County, and central portions of Rio Grande and Conejos Counties.

Moderate drought (D1) conditions are depicted across Lake County, the rest of Chaffee County, southern Mineral County into southwestern Rio Grande and western Conejos Counties. Moderate drought (D1) conditions are also indicated across the rest of Teller County and into northwestern portions of El Paso County.

AGRICULTURAL:

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

HYDROLOGIC:

NRCS data indicated March 1st, statewide snowpack was down to 95 percent of median, as compared to 88 percent of median at this time last year.

In the Arkansas basin, March 1st snowpack came in at 90 percent of median, which is comparable to the 91 percent of median snowpack at this time last year. Although late February and early March storms brought some snow to southern portions of the basin, there remain differences in snowpack distribution, with southern portions of the basin still lagging behind the northern and the headwaters region of the Arkansas basin.

In the Rio Grande basin, March 1st snowpack came in at 93 percent of median, as compared to 100 percent of median at this time last year. NRCS data also indicated differences in snowpack distribution, with eastern portions of the Rio Grande basin lagging behind western portions of the basin.

NRCS data also indicated statewide water storage was at 75 percent of median overall at the end of February, as compared to the 81 percent of median storage available at this time last year.

In the Arkansas Basin, water storage at the end of February came in at 92 percent of median overall, as compared to the 90 percent of median storage available at this same time last year.

In the Rio Grande Basin, water storage at the end of February came in at 95 percent of median overall, as compared to the 87 percent of median storage available at this time last year.

March 1st streamflow forecasts in the Arkansas Basin range from 40 to 50 percent of median at the Purgatorie River at Trinidad and at the Huerfano River near Redwing, to around 90 percent of median at Chalk Creek near Nathrop and at the Arkansas River at Salida.

March 1st streamflow forecasts in the Rio Grande Basin range from 26 percent of median at Sangre de Cristo Creek to 99 percent of median at the Conejos River near Mogote.

CLIMATE SUMMARY:

The average temperature in Pueblo for the past month of February was 30.2 degrees. This is 4.9 degrees below normal and makes February of 2022 the 26th coldest February on record in Pueblo. Pueblo recorded 0.58 inches of precipitation and 8.0 inches of snow through the month of February, which is 0.26 inches above normal and 3.3 inches above normal, respectively. This also makes February of 2022 the 35th wettest and 34th snowiest February on record in Pueblo.

PRECIPITATION/TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK:

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

Filed Under: AgricultureCountyEnvironmentFeaturedMedia ReleaseRecreationWaterWeather

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