Drought news: Abnormal dryness creeps back into western Colorado #ColoradoRiver

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


Temperatures were normal to above normal for most areas west of the Missouri River. The greatest departures from normal were over the central Rocky Mountains, where temperatures were 9-12 degrees Fahrenheit above normal. The eastern United States recorded temperatures below normal, with most areas 3-6 degrees Fahrenheit below normal for the week, and in New England, temperatures were 9-12 degrees Fahrenheit below normal. A strong storm system developed in the southwest and ejected onto the southern plains and into the Midwest. This was a storm with a great deal of moisture and it brought above-normal precipitation from Arizona up to Illinois. Portions of eastern Iowa to Chicago recorded over 12 inches of snow, with some areas approaching 20 inches for the event. The southeast, Mid-Atlantic, upper Midwest, and west coast remained dry with most areas slightly below normal for precipitation this week…

The High Plains

A warm week over the region, with temperature departures of 3-6 degrees Fahrenheit above normal common over the entire region. Much of Kansas and Nebraska were impacted by the same storm that brought precipitation to the southern plains and Midwest. The greatest precipitation was recorded over southeast Nebraska and northeast Kansas, which allowed for the improvement of D0 conditions this week…

The West

Consistent with what has been all too common over the west, temperatures were again well above normal for the week. The greatest departures from normal were over Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada, where temperatures were 9-12 degrees Fahrenheit above normal for the week. Most other areas were 3-6 degrees Fahrenheit above normal. Arizona and New Mexico picked up some good precipitation, but this did little for snow accumulation in the upper elevations as there was more rain than snow. California remained dry as well as much of Washington and Oregon. The consistent issue in the west this current water year is the lack of snowfall, even in the highest elevations. The majority of the precipitation has fallen as rain, which has impacted many groups who count on snow for their livelihoods. Many valley locations are showing adequate rain this winter, but the same cannot be said for the upper elevations and their snow totals. This has made depicting drought quite difficult, as the runoff associated with the upper elevation snowpack is vital. With the precipitation in the region this week, improvements were made to southwest Arizona, southern Nevada, and southern California, where the impact of the summer monsoon along with the current precipitation has allowed for improvements. Areas of southwest New Mexico also were improved as the short-term precipitation has allowed conditions to start improving in the long term as well. D0 was expanded in Colorado this week to include more of the central portion of the state…

Looking Ahead

Over the next 5-7 days, the warm temperatures over the western half of the United States will continue. Much of the area with see daily high temperatures 6-12 degrees Fahrenheit above normal, with the greatest departure from normal high temperatures over eastern Colorado and western Kansas. Overnight lows are also expected to be above normal over most of the United States with overnight lows 6-18 degrees Fahrenheit above normal. The greatest departures from normal are expected over the northern Rocky Mountains. The area around the Great Lakes and New England is expected to be cooler than normal during this time with departures of 3-6 degrees Fahrenheit below normal for maximum and minimum temperatures. Precipitation chances look impressive from central California north toward Oregon and Washington. Amounts are projected to be quite high at this time, but with the warm weather, much of this precipitation is expected as rain, except at the highest elevations. This system is expected to impact most of the northwestern United States and into the northern Rocky Mountains. Precipitation is also expected to impact the Gulf Coast and along the eastern seaboard, into New England. Amounts of up 1-2 inches are projected at this time.

The 6-10 day outlook has warm temperatures likely to continue over the western two-thirds of the country while the best chances for below normal temperatures is expected over Alaska, New England, the Great Lakes region and along the east coast. Precipitation projections are showing that the greatest chance of above normal precipitation is over the northern plains and upper Midwest. The best chances for below normal precipitation take place over the southeastern United States and northern Alaska, especially over the lower Mississippi valley and Gulf Coast as well as in California and the Great Basin.

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