The May #Drought Update is hot off the presses from the Colorado Water Conservation Board

Colorado Drought Monitor May 12, 2015
Colorado Drought Monitor May 12, 2015

Here’s the release from the CWCB (Taryn Finnessey/Tracy Kosloff):

Activation of the State Drought Mitigation and Response Plan, and the activation of the Agricultural Impact Task Force remain in effect to respond to ongoing drought conditions in Southern Colorado.

April and early May weather conditions improved compared to March. Temperatures in April were slightly above normal statewide. April precipitation was much greater than normal in northeastern Colorado, the upper Arkansas River Basin and the Grand Junction area. The wet pattern continued for the first half of May throughout the state with a great deal of moisture concentrated over Morgan County.

  • Water year-to-date precipitation at mountain SNOTEL sites, as of May 13, is at 86% of normal, an improvement compared to the last drought update, due to a relatively wet late April and early May. Most basins had lower than normal peak snow pack (the exception was the South Platte Basin), but the melt off has been at a slower rate than normal. This means that comparisons of day of the year snowpack to the normal for that day may show near normal snowpack levels, however, the total amount of snow available for water supply purposes, is lower than normal in most basins this year.
  • May 1st streamflow forecasts are near normal only in a few South Platte subbasins and the Blue River. Streamflow forecasts in the southwest and northwest are less than 70 percent of normal with several subbasins forecasted to be less than 50 percent of normal.
  • Reservoir Storage statewide is at 108% of average as of May 1st. Storage in the northern half of the state is well above average with multiple basins seeing storage levels in excess of 120% of average. The Upper Rio Grande and the Arkansas have the lowest storage at 75% and 79% of average, respectively.
  • The Surface Water Supply Index (SWSI) is near normal in much of the South Platte, Colorado River, and Lower Arkansas, but showing moderate to severe drought in the northwest and southwest. The lowest SWSI value in the state is in the North–Fork Gunnison where stream flow forecasts range from 31 to 43% of average, the highest value is in the northern South Platte River basin.
  • Water providers in attendance reported their systems are in good shape, largely due to plentiful storage. While demand is low due to the cool and wet spring conditions.
  • Some areas of Weld and Morgan County are cleaning up and will need to repair roads after a slow moving storm over Mother’s Day weekend resulted in flooding.

Click here to read my notes (Tweets). More Colorado Water Conservation Board coverage here.

R.I.P. B.B. King

B.B. King at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam, 2009 via Wikipedia Commons
B.B. King at the North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam, 2009 via Wikipedia Commons

Click here to read about the blues legend.

Snowpack/runoff news: Good precipitation so far in May, more on the way #ColoradoRiver

Statewide snowpack map May 14, 2015 via the NRCS
Statewide snowpack map May 14, 2015 via the NRCS

From the Associated Press (Dan Elliott) via The Pueblo Chieftain:

…[recent] precipitation isn’t helping dry downstream states in the Southwest that rely on the Colorado River, which originates in western Colorado.

The U.S. Drought Monitor said Thursday a series of recent storms have dropped up to four times the normal weekly rainfall in some areas of the West. However, three-quarters of the region remains in a long-term drought.

Nearly half of California was classified as being in an exceptional drought — the most severe of five categories.

The Colorado River supplies water to about 40 million people and 6,300 square miles of farmland in seven states, including California.

Much of the river’s water comes from melting snow in the Colorado mountains. At its deepest point last winter, the snow in the Colorado River Basin reached only about 82 percent of normal.

More Colorado River Basin coverage here.