Drought news: The lower Yampa River Basin needs more rain #COdrought

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Click on the thumbnail graphic for the latest drought map from the US Drought Monitor. Here’s an excerpt from their discussion:

Past Week: Several cold fronts stalled across the Southeast during the past week, bringing slightly cooler temperatures and occasional precipitation to parts of the area. Moisture from what was briefly Tropical Storm Ivo off the coast of Baja California surged into the Southwest, resulting in moderate rains (0.5 – 1.5 inches, locally heavier) over a significant portion of the region. In the central part of the Nation, above-normal temperatures combined with rapidly worsening drought, resulting in widespread deterioration of conditions especially across the Midwest…

Northern and Central Great Plains: As with the Midwest, the central and eastern portions of both the Dakotas and Nebraska are also experiencing problems with both excessive heat and drought. Temperatures have reached well into the 90s for many areas. Bismarck, ND, for example, topped out at 102 degrees F on August 20th. This breaks the old record of 100 degrees F set in 1976. PNP values for the past 60-days fell between the 10th and 25th percentiles across parts of eastern North Dakota and adjacent parts of Minnesota. PNP values between the 25th and 50th percentiles were common over much of the eastern Dakotas and portions of southeastern Nebraska (between Omaha and Lincoln). Based on factors such as these, widespread one-category downgrades were deemed necessary in this region.

Conversely, good rains in August and decent stream flows in extreme southeastern South Dakota have resulted in much better crop conditions than the rest of the region in general. Moderate drought (D1) was improved to abnormal dryness (D0) in southern Clay and southern Union counties. Elsewhere in eastern South Dakota, Aberdeen may end up having its second driest August on record. So far this month, only 0.15-inch has fallen. The record of 0.06-inch was set back in 1947. Normal rainfall for August in Aberdeen is 2.43 inches.

Southern Great Plains: Slightly above-normal temperatures, near to below-normal stream flows, and PNPs between the 25th and 75th percentiles warranted an expansion of abnormal dryness (D0) in southern Oklahoma. In Texas, lots of minor alterations were made to the drought depiction, both improvements and degradations.

The West: Several relatively small changes (improvements) were made to the drought depiction across southern Wyoming, and both north-central and eastern Colorado. In northwestern Arizona, the area of extreme drought (D3) in Coconino county was reduced in size, while severe drought (D2) improved to moderate drought (D1) over much of north-central Arizona. These improvements were primarily based on several flood reports, given that rainfall data is sparse throughout this region.

From the The Craig Daily Press (Bear Steadman):

Still below the normal trend of 1.1 inches of precipitation, Northwest Colorado received .39 inches of rain so far in August, yet that is expected to increase during the weekend, according to the National Weather Service (NWS) in Grand Junction…

NWS Meteorologist Travis Booth said that Northwest Colorado can also expect a return in monsoon activity Labor Day weekend. This should provide widespread rain showers that will lead into early next week. Although the rain will be beneficial, there is a concern that lightning strikes may spark fires in the area.

This September, there is an increased probability of high temperatures rather than the normal trend of lower temperatures. The NWS said that there are “equal chances” for either above or lower precipitation levels in September but there are no clear signs to determine how much precipitation to expect. Furthermore, New Mexico and Arizona have a predicted above normal precipitation level next month; therefore there is a chance the weather will drift into Northwest Colorado.

From the Cortez Journal (Tobie Baker):

Tropical Storm Ivo stalled off the coast of the Baja Peninsula over the weekend, bringing some “nice local relief” in the form of rain to Cortez.

“The storm brought a bunch of needed rain across the Southwest, and it did us a lot of good,” said cooperative weather observer Jim Andrus. According to Andrus, Ivo dumped nearly two inches of rain in Cortez from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday. He recorded a total of 1.95 inches over the two-day period, including 1.76 inches of rainfall on Sunday…

“The weekend’s storm was just a single event,” Andrus said. “The drought is still here.”

Andrus said drought conditions would persist until water levels at Lake Mead and Lake Powell return to normal. Both reservoirs remain well below normal levels. A National Weather Service cooperative weather observer for Cortez for the past 16 years, Andrus said Montezuma County has been experiencing a drought since 1997. While the drought has not been consistent, including three years of above-normal precipitation and two years of near-normal precipitation, Andrus said two-thirds of the past 15 years have experienced below normal levels of precipitation.

From Steamboat Today (Tom Ross):

The .13 inches of rain that fell on Steamboat Springs from Aug. 23 to 25 broke a nine-day run without precipitation, but it wasn’t enough to put the city and the surrounding mountains back on track for average August precipitation. With Sept. 1 just a week away, Steamboat has totaled .52 inches of moisture thus far this month, well short of the August average of 1.71 inches, according to the National Weather Service’s regional climate center.

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