Drought news #COdrought

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

Midwest and Plains

An inch or more of precipitation fell across parts of the Midwest, locally in southern Iowa, southern Illinois, and parts of Missouri. D1 was trimmed slightly in northern Missouri. Although a few half-inch precipitation reports were received, most stations in northeast Kansas were much drier this week, compounding longer-term (month-to-date and 6-12 month) departures, so D0 was extended across northeast Kansas and slightly in northwest Missouri.

The West

A slow-moving upper-level low pressure system brought rain and winter weather to the west coast and Southwest. An inch or more of precipitation fell from coastal Oregon through California, and northwestern New Mexico, with locally heavier amounts. Widespread 2+ inches of precipitation fell over Arizona, southern Nevada, southern Utah, and southwest Colorado, with 4 inches or more in central Arizona. D1 and D2 were pulled back in southern California and D1 was pulled back in southern Utah. D0 was pulled back in southwest Colorado. D1 and D2 were trimmed in northern New Mexico, with the improvements tempered by low reservoir conditions in the northwest. D0-D1 were pulled back in Arizona, especially in the central sections, and D2 was trimmed in the south. With the much-above-normal precipitation this week in Arizona and parts of southern California, the SL impacts area was shifted over to the central half of California.

Looking Ahead

As the low pressure system and cold front move up the east coast during the next couple days, they will generate widespread rain and snow. The NWS HPC 7-Day Quantitative Precipitation Forecast (QPF) has 1+ inches of precipitation from the Carolinas to the Northeast, with locally 3+ inches in the Northeast, through December 4. It also calls for an inch or more of precipitation in the Cascades and northern Rockies, half an inch along the Gulf of Mexico coast, a tenth of an inch or less for the Midwest and Plains, and a dry reprieve (no precipitation) for the Southwest. Temperatures are predicted to average above normal in the West and below normal in the East. The 6-10 day and 8-14 day outlooks project above-normal temperatures across the southeastern third of the country, and much of Alaska, for December 4-10, and below-normal temperatures in the Alaskan panhandle and much of the West and Plains, with the below-normal temperatures progressing eastward into the Great Lakes near the end of the period. Above-normal precipitation is expected across most of the West, due to a series of Pacific weather systems, and to the Lower Mississippi Valley then much of the East, due to a series of Gulf of Mexico weather systems. Below-normal precipitation is projected for the Plains, coastal Northwest, and much of Alaska.

US Drought Monitor for Colorado November 26, 2013
US Drought Monitor for Colorado November 26, 2013

Here’s the November 2013 Drought Update from the Colorado Water Conservation Board:

Continued precipitation across much of the state has led to significant improvements in most of Colorado. However the Arkansas basin is still experiencing exceptional, D4, drought conditions. Storage levels are strong and better than they were this time last year, easing concerns of municipal providers. Early season snow has been decent, but long range forecasts paint an unclear picture as to what we can expect throughout the winter months. Consequently, activation of the state drought plan remains in effect.

  • Strong and persistent fall rains coupled with a good start to the snow accumulation season has resulted in large improvements to the US Drought Monitor for Colorado. Currently, 74% of the state is in some level of classification on the US drought monitor. However 53% of that is characterized as “abnormally dry” while an additional 9% is experiencing D1 or moderate drought conditions. Only 8% is classified as severe, 2.5% as extreme and only 1.47% of the state remains in exceptional drought. In comparison, three months ago 25% of the state was experiencing extreme and exceptional (D3 and D4) drought, while at the start of the calendar year 53% was classified as D3 or D4.
  • A cool October followed by a warm start to November has resulted in water year to-date (water year 2014 began Oct 1, 2013 and will run through September 2014) temperatures that are slightly below normal. The latest Climate Prediction Center forecast shows the probability for warmer temperatures through December across much of the state.
  • September and October precipitation were both well above average statewide. Currently, water year to-date precipitation is 107% of average with the northern part of the state near average to above average (99-140%) and the basins of the southwest, Rio Grande and Arkansas ranging from 83-88%.
  • Reservoir storage as of November 1st has rebounded to 83% of average statewide. Many providers were able to store substantial amounts of water during the September rain events. Denver Water, the state’s largest water provider, was able to store water in September for the first time in their history. Consequently, areas of the state that have received the most beneficial precipitation are also showing the higher reservoir storage levels. The Yampa/ White remains the highest storage levels in the state at 112% of average; while the South Platte and the Upper Colorado are reporting storage levels of 107 and 91% respectively. The southern portion of the state has lower storage levels at 72, 68 and 67% of average in the Arkansas, Gunnison and Southwest basins respectively. The Rio Grande continues to have the lowest storage levels in the state at 47% of average.
  • The Climate Prediction Center seasonal drought outlook released November 21, 2013 and valid for November 21-February 28, 2014 illustrates persistent drought across southeastern Colorado and the eastern plains along the Kansas and Nebraska boarder. Temperature forecasts for the same period show an equal chance of being above and below average.
  • ENSO conditions remain neutral, which offers less guidance for long range climate outlooks. However, early season snow in the mountains is consistent with the snowpack forecast for January 1st that is near or above average in all basins. The statistical precipitation forecast for January- March 2014 shows dryness across much of the state, but has had limited operational skill since 2000.
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