The latest Climate Briefing from the Western Water Assessment is hot off the presses

West Drought Monitor October 14, 2014
West Drought Monitor October 14, 2014

Click here to go the Western Water Assessment website (scroll down for the latest assessment). Here’s an excerpt:

Highlights

  • Water year 2014 closed with a wetter-than-average September for most of the region, but October has been much drier than average so far, except in southeastern Colorado.
  • At the end of September, nearly all of the region’s reservoirs were in better shape than at the same time last year, but most reservoirs in Utah and southern Colorado were still lagging the long-term average.
  • The NOAA CPC monthly and seasonal outlooks show mostly equal chances for above-average or below-average precipitation for late fall and early winter, while the ‘SWcast’ shows more of a wet tilt for Utah and Colorado.
  • ENSO indicators are more consistently pointing towards El Niño onset, which is likely to officially occur by spring, according to the latest forecasts.
  • […]

    September and early October Precipitation and Temperatures, and Current Drought

    Water year 2014 concluded with a wet September Western US Seasonal Precipitation for most of the region, with nearly all of Utah and most of Wyoming and Colorado seeing above-average precipitation for the month. Through October 19, water year 2015 has gotten off to a dry start across the region Western US Seasonal Precipitation, with the exception of southeastern Colorado.

    For the 12 months of water year 2014, most of the region saw above-average precipitation Western US Seasonal Precipitation, with nearly all of Wyoming, northern and central Colorado, and eastern, northern, and southeastern Utah ending up on the wet side of the ledger. Southeastern and southwestern Colorado, southeastern Utah, and central Utah were on the dry side. Very few areas saw less than 70% of average water year precipitation. Because the best months for precipitation across Utah were July, August, and September—a time of year that produces less efficient runoff—water-year streamflows were generally lower than would be expected given the water-year precipitation.

    Despite the generally above-average precipitation in September, the temperatures were 0-4°F warmer than average over nearly the entire region Western US Seasonal Precipitation. Thus far, October has also been running warmer than average.

    With the ample precipitation in September, the latest US Drought Monitor US Drought Monitor, based on conditions as of October 14, shows overall less drought in the region compared to early September. Drought conditions improved in southeastern and southwestern Colorado, southern Wyoming, and multiple areas in Utah. For the first time since June 2012, there are no areas of D3 or D4 drought in the region. The proportion of the region in D2 or worse drought is likewise on the decline: Utah down to 13% from 19%, Colorado down to 12% from 16%, and Wyoming unchanged at zero.

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