#Drought news: October 28 #ColoradoRiver streamflow at the #Colorado #Utah line in upper quartile for this time of year

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


A slow-moving storm that had first arrived in California on October 15 drifted eastward across the southwestern and south-central U.S., generating heavy showers. Eventually, the storm lifted northward across the Plains, providing beneficial moisture for emerging winter wheat. However, rain mostly bypassed a few areas, including eastern Kansas and north-central Oklahoma. Farther south, the storm’s trailing cold front became infused with tropical moisture from Patricia, the strongest hurricane on record. (On the morning of October 23, several hours prior to crossing the southwestern coast of Mexico, Patricia’s sustained winds peaked at 200 mph and the central barometric pressure plummeted to 25.96 inches, or 879 millibars. When Patricia made landfall later that day near Cuixmala, Mexico, winds were estimated at 165 mph and the central pressure was 27.17 inches, or 920 millibars.) In part due to the influx of tropical moisture, October 22-25 rainfall topped 20 inches at a few locations in northeastern Texas. Storm-total rainfall reached 5 inches or more in a broader area covering much of eastern Texas, as well as portions of Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Consequently, areas of the South that had received little rainfall in the last 4 months were suddenly deluged by flooding rains. Significant rain began to overspread parts of the Midwest and Southeast on October 27, after the drought-monitoring period ended, and will be reflected in next week’s U.S. Drought Monitor…

Great Plains

Widespread rain fell from the southern and central High Plains northward into the Dakotas, hampering fieldwork but providing much-needed moisture for emerging winter grains. On October 25, Oklahoma’s winter wheat was rated 22% very poor to poor, while only 31% of the crop was rated good to excellent. A substantial portion of the wheat was also rated very poor to poor in Texas (20%), Colorado (16%), and Kansas (15%). Although many areas of the Plains received rain that should help to revive pastures and promote winter wheat growth, eastern Kansas and north-central Oklahoma remained dry. In those areas, there was some introduction or expansion of dryness (D0) and moderate drought (D1). In Kansas, statewide topsoil moisture was 52% very short to short by October 25. However, topsoil moisture was at least 70% very short to short in central, north-central, and northeastern Kansas…


Precipitation began to wind down as the drought-monitoring period began, although heavy showers lingered in the Southwest. New rain and snow, along with further analysis of last week’s precipitation, led to reductions in the coverage of dryness and drought—some widespread—in the Four Corners States. Despite the recent precipitation, low reservoir levels remain a long-term concern in parts of Arizona and New Mexico. Nevertheless, flows in the upper Colorado River basin have been on the rise in recent weeks. Near the Utah-Colorado state line, the instantaneous streamflow of the Colorado River on October 28 was above 5,100 cubic feet per second, ranking in the upper one-fourth of the historical distribution for this time of year. Meanwhile, a mostly dry week led to “status quo” conditions in the hardest-hit drought areas of the Far West, including California. On October 25, California led the nation in topsoil and subsoil moisture rated very short to short (both 90%). Oregon ranked second in both categories (77% very short or short for topsoil moisture and 87% very short or short for subsoil moisture), and led the U.S. with 66% of its rangeland and pastures rated in very poor to poor condition…

Looking Ahead

During the next 5 days, active weather will continue across much of the nation. As a storm system moves across eastern Canada, rain will end later today in the northeastern U.S. However, a few rain and snow showers may linger in the Great Lakes region. Meanwhile, a parade of Pacific storms will cross the Northwest, where 5-day rainfall totals could reach 5 to 10 inches (or more) west of the Cascades. Significant precipitation (locally 2 to 6 inches) will also reach the northern Rockies. The first of the Pacific storms will dip into the Southwest before tracking eastward. As a result, heavy rain will return to parts of the south-central U.S. and quickly spread eastward. Five-day rainfall totals of 2 to 4 inches can be expected from the southeastern Plains to the southern Appalachians. In contrast, little or no precipitation will occur across the northern Plains and southern California. Elsewhere, mild weather in the western U.S. will be replaced by sharply colder conditions early next week.

The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for November 3 – 7 calls for the likelihood of warmer-than-normal weather across the eastern two-thirds of the U.S., while below-normal temperatures will cover the West. Meanwhile, wetter-than-normal conditions across the majority of the nation will contrast with below-normal precipitation in the Pacific Northwest, the Northeast, and lower Southeast.


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