Snowpack off to a good start in northern Colorado, past week mostly dry across the western US #COdrought

Click here to go to the US Drought Monitor website. Here’s an excerpt:

The Plains

In the northern tier, a generally cool and dry pattern was observed over much of the Dakotas and Nebraska. Near-normal, short-term precipitation totals led to the removal of a small area of Abnormally Dry (D0) in eastern South Dakota. In the southern tier, eastern Kansas and eastern Oklahoma received two-to-four inches of rain late last week, but these rains fell in areas currently not experiencing drought. In southwestern Oklahoma, continued dryness led to the expansion of an area of Exceptional Drought (D4) in Harmon County. During the past week, temperatures in the southern tier were slightly above normal.

The West

During the past week, most of the West was dry with the exception of the Pacific Northwest where one-to-two inches of rain fell across the coastal lowlands of Oregon and Washington. Snow showers were observed over the high elevations of the Cascades, Northern and Central Rockies, and Intermountain West. According to the Natural Resource Conservation Service SNOTEL network, mountain snowpack conditions are off to a good start in Oregon, northern Idaho, southwestern Montana, Wyoming, and northern Colorado. Early season snowfall and improving moisture conditions led to one-category improvements in areas of Moderate Drought (D1) and Severe Drought (D2) in Wyoming, northeastern Utah, and northwestern Colorado. The vast majority of the West experienced below normal temperatures during the past week.

Looking Ahead

The NWS HPC 7-Day Quantitative Precipitation Forecast (QPF) calls for moderate to heavy precipitation across the Pacific Northwest. Mountain snow is expected in the northern Sierras (CA), Cascades (OR/WA), Sawtooths (ID), Bitteroots (MT), and Tetons (WY). Modest precipitation totals (less than 1.5”) are expected from eastern Texas extending northeast through the Mississippi Valley, Upper Midwest, and Northeast. The 6-10 day outlooks call for a high probability of above-normal precipitation and below-normal temperatures across the Pacific Northwest, Northern California, and Northern Rockies. In contrast, above-normal temperatures are expected over the southern half of the United States with the exception of southern California. Above-normal precipitation is also expected across the Great Plains Midwest, and South Florida.

‘The Front Range is thirsty. They want our water, and they’ve taken it’ — J. Paul Brown

Durango
Durango

From The Durango Herald (Brandon Mathis):

…La Plata County sheep and cattle rancher J. Paul Brown addressed a crowd of about 40 people at Christina’s Grill & Bar on Saturday morning to announce his plans to retake the House seat he lost by two percentage points in 2012 to Durango attorney Mike McLachlan. He called the district, which includes La Plata, Archuleta, Hinsdale, Ouray and a portion of Gunnison counties, one of the most beautiful places in the world and one of great importance to the state and nation.

“We are the pull of all of Colorado,” he said. “Tourism, mining, gas and oil, hospitals. It’s a wonderful district.”

While Brown, a Republican, said he is not yet ready to propose specific legislation, he did say he had a long list of issues and possible bills…

“Water is an issue here, and it always will be,” he said. “The Front Range is thirsty. They want our water, and they’ve taken it.”

Brown mentioned water-storage initiatives to keep water on the Western Slope and in the state.

“Six hundred thousand acre feet of water just went to Kansas and Nebraska,” he said. “That’s our water – we just don’t have any way to keep it.”[…]

La Plata County Planning Commissioner and beef rancher Wayne Buck supports Brown’s ideology. He called Brown a politician of moral fiber and character.

“He’s honest, and Lord knows we need honest politicians in Denver and in Washington, D.C.,” Buck said.

From The Denver Post (Kurtis Lee):</p.

Steve House, a healthcare consultant from Brighton, will announce his candidacy for governor Monday in Adams County…

House is now among five Republicans vying to unseat Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper in 2014. Sen. Greg Brophy of Wray, Secretary of State Scott Gessler, former state Sen. Mike Kopp and former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo have all announced their candidacies for governor.

More 2014 Colorado Election coverage here.

Big Thompson River: Restoration plans begin to emerge #COflood

The Big Thompson River September 14, 2013 via The Denver Post
The Big Thompson River September 14, 2013 via The Denver Post

From the Loveland Reporter-Herald (James Garcia):

The Big Thompson River Restoration Coalition, sponsored and headed by Wildlands Restoration Volunteers along with various nonprofits, government agencies and community members, held an informational meeting Sunday evening at the Thompson School District Administration Building, with around 50 landowners and interested parties in attendance…

When asked at the meeting what the coalition’s definition of “restoration” is and what it would mean to the property owners, he explained the necessity of protecting infrastructures like bridges, roads and buildings both from current and future conditions.

He also suggested it eventually would be defined by the landowners themselves.

The coalition seeks to figure out the needs of the people and the ecology affected by the river and to bring that information to organizations that will make restorative efforts based on the data gathered and the wishes of the citizens affected.

The issues at hand include: fishing and the fish population, riverbank protection, habitat restoration, infrastructure, ditches and diversions, access for recreation and businesses and individual property…

Step one in the coalition’s vision will be the short-term restoration of important infrastructure. Step two is to form a master plan, which according to Giordanengo, could take as long as six months The current stage in the coalition’s process is mainly information gathering, coordination and fund-raising.