#Drought news: Minor changes in depiction for #Colorado

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


This U.S. Drought Monitor week saw generally dry conditions across most of the conterminous U.S. during the past week. Snow showers fell across parts of the upper Midwest as well as downwind locations of the Great Lakes where moderate-to-heavy snowfall accumulations were observed. Out West, an overall dry pattern prevailed, and temperatures were well below normal with the greatest departures observed across the Great Basin and Intermountain West. Conversely, temperatures were well above normal across the Northern Plains, Upper Midwest, and New England. Overall, minor improvements were made on the map in parts of the Northeast, Midwest, Desert Southwest, and portions of California…

The Plains

On this week’s map, only minor changes were made across the region. In the Black Hills region, wetter conditions during the past 30–90 days led to removal of an area of Severe Drought (D2). Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) SNOTEL stations in the Black Hills are reporting normal to near-normal snow water equivalent (SWE) with the North Rapid Creek SNOTEL at 107% of the official median and the Blind Park SNOTEL at 96% of median. In western Nebraska, a small area of Abnormally Dry (D0) was reduced in response to above- average precipitation during the past 30–90 days. In Oklahoma, dry conditions and above- normal, fine-fuel loading led the National Interagency Fire Center to issue a Fuels and Fire Behavior Advisory (effective February 1–14) to warn of critical wildland fuel conditions that increase the potential for extreme fire danger. Overall, the region was dry during the past week with the exception of some low precipitation accumulations, generally less than 1 inch, across parts of Nebraska and South Dakota. Average temperatures were slightly above normal in the western extent of the region while eastern portions were well above normal…

The West

During the past week, most of the West was very dry and temperatures were well below normal with the exception of the plains of eastern Colorado and Montana. On the map, one-category improvements were made in areas of Moderate Drought (D1) and Severe Drought (D2) along the central Coast of California and in portions of the San Joaquin Valley where recent storm events during the past 30 days have improved overall conditions. Streamflows across the state are running normal to above normal. According to the California Department of Water Resources, the snowpack (statewide) is currently 108% of the April 1 average and 174% of normal for the date (February 1). Despite improvements across much of the state, the longer-term impacts of the drought are still being observed in relation to groundwater supplies in various California locations. In southern California, the San Diego County Water Authority issued a statement declaring that drought conditions in San Diego County have ended. It should be noted, however, that the state of California is still officially in drought under Governor Brown’s drought declaration (1/17/14). Elsewhere in the region, improvements were made in an area of Severe Drought (D2) in southwestern Arizona as well as in east-central Arizona along the Mogollon Rim and northeastern Arizona. In Colorado and Wyoming, minor reductions in areas of Abnormally Dry (D0) were made on the map in response to normal to above-normal snowpack conditions…

Looking Ahead

The NWS WPC 7-Day Quantitative Precipitation Forecast (QPF) calls for moderate-to-heavy rainfall in the lower elevations of central and northern California as well as Oregon while significant mountain snowfall accumulations are forecast for the higher elevations of the Sierra, Cascades of Oregon and Washington, and the northern Rockies of Idaho and western Wyoming. Moving eastward, lesser precipitation accumulations (less than 1.5 inches) are forecast for northern portions of Alabama and Mississippi, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Conversely, dry conditions are expected across the southwestern U.S. and western portions of the Southern Plains and Texas. The CPC 6–10 day outlooks call for a high probability of above-normal temperatures across the entire conterminous U.S., with the exception of the Northern Plains and Pacific Northwest where there is a high probability of below-normal temperatures. Below-normal precipitation is forecast for the southwestern U.S., Central Rockies, and the Southern Plains. Above-normal precipitation is expected in the Eastern tier as well as the northern portion of the western U.S.

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