#Drought news: Colorado is heading into a warm pattern next week

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


This U.S. Drought Monitor week saw an active pattern nationwide as a series of storms delivered much-needed rain and mountain snow to portions of the Southwest and a wintery mix of freezing rain and snow to the lower Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, and the Southern Tier from Texas to Georgia. Significant snowfall accumulations were observed in the mountains of northern Arizona, southwestern Colorado, northern New Mexico, and southwestern Utah helping to improve snowpack conditions. In the South, heavy rains fell across portions of Louisiana and Mississippi, while freezing rain and snow dipped as far south as Alabama and Georgia. In the Northeast, snow showers and cold temperatures persisted. Average temperatures east of the Continental Divide were well below normal, dipping up to 20°F below normal in the South, Southern Plains, Midwest, and Northeast. Out West, temperatures were slightly below normal except for portions of the Pacific Northwest where temperatures hovered slightly above normal…

The Plains

Across the Plains states, temperatures were well below normal for the period with the greatest departures observed in the Southern Plains. Overall, the Northern Plains were generally dry during the past week, while a mix of freezing rain and snow shower activity impacted the Southern Plains. The only changes on this week’s map were made in north-central Oklahoma where short-term precipitation deficits and deteriorating local pond conditions led to expansion of Extreme Drought (D3) in north-central Oklahoma…

The West

A series of storms starting late last week impacted the region with significant snowfall accumulations (12 to 24 inches) observed in the mountains of northern Arizona, southwestern Colorado, southwestern Utah, and northern New Mexico. The storms helped to boost snowpack conditions to normal in several drainage basins in Arizona and New Mexico including San Francisco Peaks of northern Arizona (104% of normal) and the Cimarron and Sangre De Cristo Range of New Mexico (125% and 100% of normal, respectively). However, the storms did not have an impact on the mountains of central Arizona and southwestern New Mexico where the current snowpack conditions remain well below normal. On the map, improvements were made in areas of Extreme Drought (D3) on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and in the Chuska Mountains in the Four Corners along the Arizona-New Mexico border. Additionally, areas of Severe Drought (D2) were reduced to Moderate Drought (D1) along the Arizona-Utah border. In California, the Sierra Nevada Range snowpack remains in very poor condition despite some moderate snowfall accumulations in the central portions during the weekend. According to the Department of Water Resources latest snow survey, the snow water content of the Sierra Nevada snowpack is currently 19% of normal. In the Pacific Northwest, snowpack conditions are equally poor – ranging from 9% to 47% of normal in the Cascades of Oregon and Washington. In west-central Idaho, below normal snowpack conditions in the Weiser Basin (43% of normal) led to the expansion of Moderate Drought (D1) as well as expansion of Severe Drought (D2) in south-central Idaho where unseasonably warm temperatures are prematurely melting the snowpack…

Looking Ahead

The NWS WPC5-Day Quantitative Precipitation Forecast (QPF) calls for light- to-moderate liquid precipitation accumulations (generally less than 2 inches) in the southeastern quarter of the U.S. with greatest accumulations (1 to 2 inches) centered over Arkansas, Tennessee, and West Virginia. The West, Northern Plains, and Upper Midwest are forecasted to be generally dry. The 6–10 day outlooks call for a high probability of above-normal temperatures across the West, High Plains, Upper Midwest, and the Southeast while below-normal temperatures are forecasted for eastern New Mexico, Texas, and the Northeast. A high probability of above-normal precipitation is forecasted across the Pacific Northwest, northern California, and along the southern tier from New Mexico to the Southeast.

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