#Drought news: Widespread precipitation is erasing aridity across #Colorado

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


Bitterly cold conditions settled over central portions of the nation, while stormy weather prevailed over parts of the eastern and western U.S. The Southeastern rain afforded localized relief from dryness, while a continuation of the west’s stormy weather pattern brought more drought relief to locales from the Pacific Coast into the Rockies. In contrast, short-term dryness intensified across the southcentral U.S., in particular central Texas…

High Plains

Most of the High Plains remained free of dryness and drought, with a moderate to deep snowpack coincident with temperatures averaging more than 20°F below normal. However, western portions of this region (notably, the mountains) continued to experience significant recovery from long-term Moderate (D1) to Severe (D2) Drought. During the 7-day monitoring period, precipitation totaled 1 to locally more than 3 inches (liquid equivalent) from the Park Range in northern Colorado to the San Juan Mountains in the south. Water-year precipitation has totaled 100 to 150 percent of normal, and mountain snow water equivalents (SWE) are in the 75th to the 100th percentile, indicative of favorable spring runoff prospects. The lingering drought remains most apparent in the longer term, with 24-month precipitation still averaging 50 to 75 percent of normal in the region’s D1 and D2 areas…


The ongoing recovery from long-term drought continued over much of the west, though dry conditions lingered over northern- and southern-most portions of the region.

In the Four Corners States, locally heavy precipitation (1-4 inches, locally more) in northern portions of the region afforded relief from Moderate to Extreme Drought (D1-D3) from the central Rockies into northern New Mexico. Water-year precipitation has totaled an impressive 110 to 225 percent of normal over most of the Four Corners, with below-normal precipitation confined to southwestern and northwestern New Mexico. Spring runoff prospects are likewise favorable, with mountain snow water equivalents (SWE) currently at or above the 70th percentile, save for subpar SWE in the Gila Mountains. The Four Corner’s drought is mostly apparent in the longer-term, with 24-month precipitation averaging 55 to 75 percent of normal in the region’s core drought areas.

Farther north, heavy rain and mountain snow continued to slam locations from the northern California Coast into the northcentral Rockies. Precipitation over the past 7 days totaled an impressive 2 to 10 inches (locally more) from San Francisco north into the southern Cascades and east to the Sierra Nevada. Outside of a few locales in the southern San Joaquin Valley and in the far north, almost all of California is now reporting precipitation surpluses for the water year. To further illustrate, California’s disappearing Moderate Drought (D1) was limited to small portions in the far north, while Abnormal Dryness (D0) was confined to relatively small sections in northern and southern portions of the state. The wet weather in the north has also afforded additional drought relief in southwestern Oregon, with water-year deficits nearly eradicated from Medford into the southwestern Harney Basin. Despite the overall wet weather pattern, the water year has featured sub-par precipitation (70-80 percent of normal) in the central and northern Cascade Range. Snowpacks are in good to excellent shape in the Sierra Nevada (80th-98th percentile), southern Cascades (60th-92nd percentile), and from the Great Basin into the northcentral Rockies (55th-100th percentile). Conversely, subpar snowpacks remained a concern in the northern Rockies (locally below the 20th percentile) and northern Cascades (10th-30th percentile)…

Looking Ahead

A stormy weather pattern will continue over much of the nation. A series of fast-moving Pacific storms will bring significant precipitation to most of the contiguous U.S., save for parts of the Gulf Coast States, southern California, and from the northern High Plains into the upper Midwest. Fresh snowfall is likely from the Cascades and Sierra Nevada into the Rockies, while another round of moderate to heavy snow may also blanket locales from the central High Plains into the Great Lakes Region. Potentially moderate to heavy rain is also in the offing from the southern Plains into the lower Ohio Valley. The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for March 12–16 calls for above-normal precipitation across the entire nation, except for drier-than-normal conditions from California into the northern Rockies. Colder-than-normal weather over the western half of the nation will contrast with above-normal temperatures east of the Mississippi.

US Drought Monitor one week change map ending March 5, 2019.

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