Drought news: Otero County improves, western Kiowa County conditions “deplorable” — Drought Monitor #COdrought

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


During the past 7-days, heavy rain (greater than 2 inches) fell in parts of the Northeast, eastern North Carolina, the Florida peninsula, the Great Lakes region, northern and central portions of the Mississippi Valley, and parts of the southern Great Plains and Southwest. An unusually strong cold front for early July moved across the eastern contiguous U.S. early in the period, approaching the Atlantic Seaboard as a Category-2 hurricane (Arthur) was moving across the Outer Banks of North Carolina. As the hurricane accelerated to the northeast, it gradually became incorporated into the larger-scale cold front and associated low pressure system, resulting in heavy rains across portions of the Northeast. Meanwhile, the onset of the Southwest summer monsoon across Arizona and New Mexico brought moderate precipitation (0.5-2.0 inches) to portions of the Four Corners region…

Southern and Central Plains

A relatively narrow band of heavy rain (greater than 2 inches) was observed from near Lubbock to Wichita Falls in Texas, while a fairly concentrated area of heavy rain was reported from about Houston to Victoria in eastern Texas. About a dozen relatively minor revisions were made to the depiction in Texas this week, some degradations and some improvements. No changes were made in Oklahoma, Kansas, or Nebraska this week, in part due to widespread areas of well above-normal precipitation in the past 30-days (3-6 inches, locally greater, especially in Kansas and Nebraska). Another reason for not making alterations this week is to better assess the impacts from recent precipitation, and to consider areas ripe for downgrades next week. In eastern South Dakota, no changes were rendered this week either to the drought depiction. However, the coverage of abnormal dryness in this area will need to be revisited next week, along with the possibility of introducing some moderate drought (D1). In Wessington Springs, corn still looks okay, but surface water is lacking and grasses are drier…

Southwest and California

The initial moisture surges of the summer monsoon commenced on schedule across Arizona and New Mexico this past week. River Forecast Center rain gauge data depicts a few widely scattered 2-3 inch rainfall amounts, but much of Arizona and New Mexico reported moderate amounts of precipitation (0.5-2.0 inches). In northwest New Mexico, which missed out on the significant rainfall this past week, extreme drought (D3) was expanded eastward across all of San Juan County, and continuing across the western one-third of Rio Arriba County. In south-central Colorado, a one-category downgrade was made, based on very dry short-term SPI’s (less than -1.5), and on VIC soil moisture model considerations. In southeast Colorado (western Kiowa County), conditions are still deplorable with little vegetation on the ground, and there is also the occasional dust storm kicking up. In Otero County, where better moisture conditions exist, a one-category improvement was made to the depiction. In Baca County, a one-category improvement was rendered based on June-early July precipitation, SPI values near and slightly above zero, and reports that the wheat harvest is looking better than it has in this county for several years. No other modifications were made throughout the Southwest or California. As an important side note, according to the Federal Bureau of Reclamation, southern Nevada’s Lake Mead is expected to fall this week to its lowest level since 1937, when the manmade lake (the largest reservoir in the United States) was first being filled…

The Pacific Northwest

No alterations were made to the depiction this week. In southwest Idaho, the flow of the Owyhee and Bruneau Rivers is near record lows for the second consecutive summer, while record low Water-Year-To-Date (WYTD) precipitation has fallen at various SNOTEL sites in central Idaho…

Looking Ahead

During July 10-14, 2014, a broad band of moderate precipitation (0.5-2.0 inches) is expected from Arizona and New Mexico northeastward and eastward across the north-central Plains, the north-central Mississippi Valley, the Ohio Valley, and interior Northeast. A band of moderate to heavy rainfall (1.0-3.5 inches) is forecast for the central and eastern Gulf Coast states, and the southern Atlantic states from Florida to Delaware.

For the ensuing 5-day period, July 15-19, 2014, there are enhanced odds of above-median rainfall in the Southwest, the Southeast, and over northern and southwestern Alaska. There are enhanced odds of below-median rainfall in the Pacific Northwest, from eastern Montana to Michigan, southern Texas, southern Louisiana, and over south-central and southeast Alaska including the Panhandle.

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