Drought news: ‘The scary part is, where’s all this water coming from next year?’ — Bill Markham #CODrought


From the Fort Collins Coloradoan. (Bobby Magill):

With the season’s low humidity and high winds, it’s been difficult just to get water on crops, said Minerva Lee, a Berthoud landowner who sits on the Larimer County Agricultural Advisory Board.

“I have some corn under a center pivot that is maybe knee high, but it just can’t grow because we just can’t get it wet enough,” she said. “According to the center pivot, you’re putting on an inch, but that inch isn’t getting down to the plant.”

The heat curled the leaves on the corn, and recent rain and cooler temperatures didn’t heal them, she said.

The drought has been so damaging to crops across both Colorado and the entire country that last week the federal government declared Larimer County and more than 1,000 other counties in 26 states a massive natural disaster area…

“The scary part is, where’s all this water coming from next year?” Markham said…

Nolan Doesken looks at Northern Coloardo’s long history of years swinging between wet and dry to determine how optimistic he is about the future of the 2012 drought.

There’s reason to be optimistic: You’ll be hard pressed to find an extremely dry year followed by another extremely dry year, said Doesken, the Colorado state climatologist.

“We’re fortunate in that there historically tends to be, if you’ve had a dry year, the chances are the next year (is) likely to be wetter,” he said.

So, 2011 was very wet and 2012 was very dry, so chances are 2013 will be wetter than this year…

Doesken said long-term climate prediction is still “tenuous,” and that means you can’t bank on statistics or changes in ocean temperatures when betting on the future of this year’s drought. In other words, you can’t be certain the drought will go away anytime soon. There’s always a chance it could get worse…

“When our corn burns up and we’re out of water, it’s kind of like this: You get up some morning, you walk outside and you look up in the air, look around the sky and say, good Lord, we did the best we could with what we had,” Markham said.

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