The latest briefing from the Western Water Assessment is hot off the presses

Click here to read the briefing (scroll down). Here’s an excerpt:

The latest monthly briefing was posted today on the Intermountain West Climate Dashboard. The highlights, also provided below, cover current drought, runoff and reservoir conditions, June precipitation and temperature, and precipitation outlooks.

  • Utah and Colorado are seeing increasing hydrological, agricultural, and ecological impacts associated with the severe (D2) to exceptional (D4) drought conditions now covering over half of both states. Recent and current streamflows in the drought-affected basins are generally 5-30% of normal, including mainstem gages on the Duchesne, Yampa, Lower Green, Colorado, Gunnison, Dolores, San Juan, and Rio Grande.
  • Streamflows in Utah and southern and western Colorado are rapidly and prematurely receding to baseflow levels, with the observed monthly flows for June at or below the 10th percentile for the vast majority of gages. In northeastern Colorado and southern and eastern Wyoming, June flows were below normal at most gages despite near-normal peak snowpack. Due to the very low April-June inflows, storage in Lake Powell was 12.73 MAF as of July 1st, compared to 15.41 MAF one year ago.
  • While Tropical Storm Bud brought decent rains to some portions of southwestern Colorado, the month of June was drier than normal for most of Colorado, and bone-dry across Utah. Most of Wyoming had near-normal or wetter-than-normal conditions. June was another unusually warm month for the region, with many parts of Colorado and Utah seeing temperatures 4-6 degrees F above normal.
  • Since early June, drought conditions have worsened in central and southern Utah and southern Colorado. D4 conditions have expanded in the Four Corners region and have emerged in central Utah. The total area in the region affected by drought is similar to three weeks ago. As of June 26, 61% of Utah is in D2 or worse, and the remainder in D0 or D1; in Colorado, 52% is in D2 or worse, and 27% in D0-D1; and in Wyoming, only 14% is in D0-D1, with no D2-D4.
  • The CPC seasonal precipitation outlooks for the month of July and the July-September period show enhanced chances for above-normal precipitation for Utah and western Colorado, reflecting that the forecast models used for guidance are nearly unanimous in showing an active southwestern monsoon.
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