Click here to read the update from the Colorado Water Conservation Board:
May was wet and cool across most of the state resulting in improvements to drought conditions throughout eastern Colorado. However, June, to-date, has seen just 33% of average precipitation; with portions of southern Colorado also seeing above average temperatures. Warm and dry conditions, such as these, can counteract gains from precipitation quickly. Reservoir storage remains high in the north but below average in the southern half of the state. Southeastern Colorado continues to struggle with blowing dust due to high winds and dry soil moisture. The hope that a strong El Nino event would bring significant moisture to the plains has largely dissipated with stagnant ENSO conditions. Water providers in attendance indicated that storage levels are strong, with many reservoirs near or at capacity (and some spilling), and they are not imposing watering restrictions beyond normal operating procedures.
Currently, 49% of the state is in some level of drought classification according to the US drought monitor. 23% of that is characterized as “abnormally dry” or D0, while an additional 9% is experiencing D1, moderate drought conditions. 8% is classified as severe, 7% as extreme and 2% of the state remains in exceptional drought (D4). These conditions are slightly improved over last month. Current streamflow forecasts statewide range from greater than 150% of average in the South Platte to below 50% of average in parts of the southwest. The northern portion of the state has forecasts that are near to above normal, while the southern portion of the state has forecasts below normal. Snowpack statewide is at 197% of median. All basins are experiencing normal seasonal decline, but significant amounts of snow remain. By this time of year many basins have reached melt-out, making those with snow still on the ground appear greater than conditions actually reflect. As of June 17, the basins in the northern portion of the state are all above the median while the southwest, Rio Grande and Upper Arkansas are below the median. Reservoir Storage statewide is at 95% of average at the end of May 2014, slightly higher than last month. The lowest reservoir storage statewide is in the Arkansas & Upper Rio Grande basins, with 56% and 63% of average storage, respectively. The Yampa/White and the South Platte have the highest storage level at 114% and 113% of average. The Surface Water Supply Index (SWSI) for the state, which takes into account both reservoir storage and streamflow forecasts, is near normal across much of the state, with an “abundant” index in the northern basins of the South Platte, North Platte, and Colorado. The lowest values in the state are in the Southwest and Rio Grande Basins and indicate moderate drought. El-Nino conditions have begun, but are not yet firmly established and appear to have stalled resulting in a weak event for the time being. The stronger an El Nino event is the more likely we are to see a wetter growing season. Long term forecasts indicate dry conditions along the Colorado Front Range and eastern plains through September, which is consistent with a weak El Nino scenario. Western Colorado can hope for a near normal monsoon season. The short term forecast anticipates near normal rainfall at best throughout the state over the next 14 days. June in Colorado is typically driest in the mountains and on the western slope.
From the Associated Press via The Pueblo Chieftain:
State officials say about half of Colorado remains in some level of drought.
The Department of Natural Resources said Monday that more than 15 percent of the state is in a severe to exceptional drought. The hardest-hit area is in southeastern Colorado, while less extreme drought conditions are spread across the southern and eastern parts of the state.
About a quarter of the state is classified as abnormally dry and 10 percent is in a moderate drought.
Conditions vary widely, with the South Platte River in northeastern Colorado forecast to run 150 percent or higher of average because of heavy mountain snow last winter. Rivers in the southwest are predicted to be below 50 percent of average.
Statewide, June precipitation has been 33 percent of average.