@CWCB_DNR: April 2017 #Drought Update

Colorado Drought Monitor April 18, 2017.

Click here to read the update. Here’s an excerpt:

With temperatures eight degrees above average, March of this year was the warmest March on record for the State of Colorado, and the second warmest on record for the nation. Late March precipitation brought much needed moisture, but the state as a whole received only 64 percent of average, in what is historically one of our wettest months. April has also been dry with only 58 percent of normal precipitation to-date. However, the forecast for the next two weeks indicates that the state will likely see cooler temperatures and more moisture.

  • Demand has already increased for municipal water providers, in some communities as much as 150 percent of average for this time of year; this is indicative of an increase in outdoor watering.
  • In Colorado, normal snow accumulation typically peaks around April 9th, yet in 2017 this occurred on March 11th, despite some recovery in late March and early April that gave the South Platte, Arkansas, and Rio Grande basins their respective peaks in early April. Additional snow accumulation is possible should adequate future weather conditions develop.
  • During the snow accumulation season all river basins were able to reach or exceed typical peak snowpack levels. Northern Basins met typical snowpack peak levels (South Platte, Yampa/White, North Platte, Arkansas & Colorado). Southern Basins exceeded typical snowpack peak levels (Gunnison, San Miguel/ Dolores, Animas/ San Juan).
  • Statewide water year- to- date snowpack as of April 19th is at 91% of normal, down from 121% on March 17th.
  • Reservoir storage statewide remains high at 110% of normal and all basins are at or above normal. March was the first month since 2009 that the Upper Rio Grande reservoirs reached 100% of normal.
  • Following two months of below average precipitation the Surface Water Supply Index (SWSI) has begun to show decreased water availability particularly in the Yampa/ White and the South Platte River basins.
  • Streamflow forecasts have fallen considerably over the last month and now range from a high of 147% of normal on Tomichi Creek to a low of 78% on Antero & Yampa above Stagecoach.
  • Neutral ENSO conditions are present, and are favored to continue through spring, with the possible development of an El Nino this summer. The April-June forecast looks mixed for the season, with the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) expecting more moisture than average, while statistical tools favor drier conditions, especially over the eastern plains. The monsoon season looks favorable based on CPC forecast and current analogues. Should an El Niño develop this summer, precipitation odds during the latter half of the growing season would become more favorable.
  • Core fire season in the mountains of western Colorado is anticipated to get off to a later than average start s a result of decent moisture over the winter. Consequently below average large fire risk is predicted from May through June.
  • For the lower elevations, foothills and south eastern plains the expectation is for average large fire potential from April through July.
  • The Flood Threat Bulletin will begin May 1st and can be found at http://www.coloradofloodthreat.com/
  • A new tool for SNODAS has been developed and can be accessed at http://projects.openwaterfoundation.org/owf-
    proj-co-cwcb-2016-snodas/prototype
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