#Drought news: D0 removed from most of western Colorado

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

Summary

This U.S. Drought Monitor week saw some minor improvements in the Northeast while continued generally hot and dry conditions led to minor degradations in the southern portions of the Mid-Atlantic states and Southeast. Further west, recent rainfall activity continued to improve conditions in western Colorado and Texas while southeastern Idaho saw deterioration in conditions as a result of above-average temperatures and precipitation deficits during the past 60 days. In recent weeks, anomalously wet conditions in northeastern California led to minor improvements in areas of exceptional drought. Overall, temperatures were above normal across northern portions of the Pacific Northwest, Northern Plains, and the Southeast during the past week. In contrast, unseasonably cool temperatures were observed across the remainder of the West, Central and Southern Plains, and Midwest. Precipitation accumulations this week were greatest (in excess of five inches) in southern portions of the Midwest where a series of upper- level disturbances along a stationary front led to heavy shower and thunderstorm activity that impacted the region resulting in significant flash flooding in Kentucky. Elsewhere, pockets of heavy rainfall were observed in portions of Texas and eastern Oklahoma…

The Plains

Across the central and southern Plains states, temperatures were well below normal for the period while the northern Plains were above normal. Most of the region was generally dry during the past week with the exception of moderate-to-heavy rainfall accumulations in eastern Oklahoma and some isolated pockets in eastern Kansas. Short-term precipitation deficits and low streamflow led to the expansion of areas of Abnormally Dry (D0) in northwestern Kansas extending just across the border into southwestern Nebraska. In the northern Plains, small areas of Abnormally Dry (D0) were eliminated in southwestern North Dakota and southeastern South Dakota…

The West

During the past week, average temperatures were two-to-ten degrees below normal across most of California, the Intermountain West, and the Southwest. Southern portions of the Pacific Northwest were cooler than normal while northern portions were two-to-eight degrees above normal. The continued overall hot and dry conditions in the Pacific Northwest led to movement of the impact lines on this week’s map to reflect the short-term impacts being reported across the region. Hot and dry conditions during the past 60 days have impacted the region’s agricultural sectors, fisheries, and wildland fire conditions. Warm water temperatures in Oregon have led to fish mortality in both the Deschutes and Willamette rivers. According to the July 6, 2015 USDA NASS Crop Progress and Conditions report, non-irrigated crops in parts of Washington are showing signs of stress. Pastures in central Washington are reported as being short and extremely dry. In southeastern Washington, the winter wheat harvest is expected to be two weeks ahead of schedule. On the map, short-term precipitation deficits and low streamflows led to the expansion of Moderate Drought (D1) in southeastern Idaho. In northeastern California, recent thunderstorm activity led to a one-category improvement in areas of Exceptional Drought (D4) in Modoc County. According to the NRCS in Alturas, the recent rains have improved rangeland conditions as well as area groundwater, ponds, and springs in some locations. In western Colorado, east-central Utah, and southwestern Wyoming, areas of Abnormally Dry (D0) were removed in response to above-average precipitation (both short- and long-term), normal streamflow activity, and improved soil moisture….

Looking Ahead

The NWS WPC 7-Day Quantitative Precipitation Forecast (QPF) calls for dry conditions across an area extending from northern California to the Pacific Northwest while portions of the Southwest are forecasted to receive monsoonal moisture with forecast accumulations in the one-to-three inch range – primarily centered over Arizona. Moderate precipitation accumulations (two-to-three inches) are forecasted for eastern portions of the central and northern Plains while the Midwest, Northeast, and parts of the Southeast are expected to receive light-to-moderate accumulations (one-to-three inches). The 6–10 day outlooks call for a high probability of above-normal temperatures along the West Coast while northern portions of the Southwest and Intermountain West are expected to experience below-normal temperatures. Meanwhile, the eastern half of the country has a high probability of above-average temperatures, especially in the Southeast. Out West, there’s a high probability of above-average precipitation forecasted for western portions of the Southwest, southern California, Intermountain West, and eastern portions of the Pacific Northwest. Likewise, the Midwest and Northeast have a high probability of above-average precipitation while Texas and the Southern Plains are forecasted to be dry.

From The Denver Post (Jesse Paul):

Only about 2 percent of the state, limited to the extreme northwest and southwest corners, is still under a designation of “abnormally dry.” Last week, 25 percent of Colorado, limited to the Western Slope, was under that category.

US Drought Monitor April 7, 2015
US Drought Monitor April 7, 2015

Three months ago, 75 percent of the state was listed as being under drought.

The last time Colorado had so little drought was in July 2009, federal statistics show…

Forecasters have credited record rainfall, coupled with about 10 months of cooler temperatures, with helping to break Colorado’s dry trends.

“It takes awhile to get into drought,” Mark Wankowsi, a meteorologist with the weather service’s Pueblo office, told The Denver Post in May. “And it takes awhile to get out.”

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