“Miracle May” revisited

Federal Water Year precipitation as a percent of normal thru May 31, 2015
Federal Water Year precipitation as a percent of normal thru May 31, 2015

From The Produce News (Lora Abcarian):

“We started in May with a rain cycle,” said Dick Wolfe, Colorado’s state engineer. “Things really turned around.”

He said conditions during March were not as snowpacked as is typical for the Centennial State. “We were way behind,” Wolfe explained. “But May was a huge turnaround in what we saw.”

According to Wolfe, the National Weather Service has deemed the month of May the wettest month, setting a national record “which is pretty impressive.” He added that this is the first turnaround of significance to have occurred during more than a decade of drought.

“Reservoirs are full or nearly full,” he commented. “We’ve got good reservoir storage.”

Coloradans saw an extended winter season in 2015 with cooler-than-normal temperatures moving into May. Monsoonal flows, typically seen during the summer months, took hold early and resulted in heavier-than-normal springtime rains. News accounts were rife with stories about flooding or potential for flooding.

The flirtation with summer began in early June as temperatures climbed and rains diminished. But, as Wolfe noted, weather forecasters have been keeping their eyes to the skies and are predicting that rainy patterns will return in July and continue into September.

“July through September is supposed to be above-average precipitation,” Wolfe commented. “Colorado is right in the bull’s-eye for rainfall predictions.”

Although the majority of Colorado falls outside the drought profile at the current time, he said areas from the western part of Colorado’s San Luis Valley to Gunnison are still dry.

According to Wolfe, the much-needed precipitation and favorable water storage condition mean that agricultural producers will have more water available for irrigation in 2015. “With good runoff and water supply, there aren’t the calls on the river that been restricted in years past,” he explained.

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