@CWCB_DNR: July 2019 #Drought Update

Here’s the release from the Colorado Department of Natural Resources (Ben Wade, Tracy Kosloff):

July has seen above average temperatures across the state and below average precipitation. In contrast, the month of June was cool and wet. The North American monsoon season has been slow to start in Colorado, but is anticipated to bring moisture to Colorado in the next one to three weeks. July historically has been a wet month for the eastern half of the state. Reservoir storage across the state has grown considerably through June with well above average streamflows. The U.S. Drought Monitor Map of Colorado shows that a majority of the state is still free of D0-D4, despite below average precipitation and warmer than average temperatures through July 21 but D0, abnormally dry, has been introduced in the southwest corner of the state.

  • According to the US Drought Monitor, released July 25, Colorado’s 8 week streak of being free of D0-D4 drought ends as D0 has been added in the southwest part of the state.
  • A weak El Niño remains in effect and is tilted in favor of wetter than normal conditions. The long term ENSO forecasts are trending toward a return to neutral conditions later this year.
  • Statewide precipitation for July 1 to 21 at mountain SNOTEL sites has been 39% of average. For the Water Year, statewide precipitation is 119% of average. The Climate Prediction Center’s one month outlook is predicting above average precipitation for most of the state for August.
  • Reservoir storage across the state (as of the end of June) is 105% of average and 76% of capacity. At this time last year,
    statewide reservoir storage was at 92% of average.
  • The western and Southwest basins have seen significant recovery after storage was depleted last year. The Rio Grande basin reservoir storage levels are as high as they have been since 2000.
  • The corn crop is approximately three weeks behind due to cooler temperatures into late spring. Producers are hoping for
    normal temperatures and a late frost to ensure a viable crop.
  • Water providers in attendance report their systems are in good shape and water demand is down compared to this time last year.
  • Flooding due to monsoonal moisture in the next 2-3 weeks in post wildfire burn scars remains a concern and is being monitored closely. The daily flood threat bulletin can be accessed May 1 through September 30 HERE.
  • Colorado Climate Center presentation (Peter Goble)

    Natural Resources Conservation Service presentation (Karl Wetlaufer)

    June 2019 Surface Water Supply Index (Tracy Kosloff)

    West Drought Monitor July 23, 2019.

    From Colorado Politics (Marianne Goodland):

    The U.S. Drought Monitor on Thursday announced in its monthly update that southwestern Colorado is back in low-level drought, or D0.

    The folks who keep an eye on drought conditions at the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) didn’t have anything good to say about it.

    “Hi D0. You have not been missed,” the CWCB said in a tweet Thursday.

    The news means the state is 97% drought-free rather than 100%, which is where Colorado has been for the past month…

    Still, according to a Tuesday presentation for the CWCB’s Water Availability Task Force, Colorado’s snowpack has done the state well this year by every measure, and spring precipitation means many of the state’s reservoirs are full or close to capacity.

    The seven reservoirs in southwestern Colorado, tracked by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), are at 100% full or nearly so. That’s water from the San Miguel, Dolores, Animas and San Juan rivers.

    Reservoirs, however, in southern and southeastern Colorado are still well below capacity, according to the NRCS data. Of the 13 reservoirs served by the Arkansas River in southeastern Colorado, seven are at 50% of capacity or below. For the reservoirs served by the Rio Grande, including those in the San Luis Valley, average capacity of its eight reservoirs is around 50%. Rainfall in the Rio Grande basin was 83% of average in June and doesn’t show much improvement for July, according to NRCS data.

    The NRCS data also showed precipitation has remained strong for most of the state. The most moisture has hit northwestern Colorado, home to the Yampa, White and North Platte River basins, with precipitation at 214% of average…

    The Colorado, the state’s largest river and supplier to 40 million people in seven states and Mexico, also had precipitation well above average in June, at 151%. The 10 reservoirs served by the Colorado are nearly full, averaging well above 80% of capacity in June.

    June ended with above average precipitation statewide, but July has been very dry across the state, the NRCS reported this week.

    The Colorado Climate Center reported Tuesday that June’s average temperature was the 42nd coldest for that month on record. The 2018-19 water year, which runs Oct. 1 to Sept. 30, is now the 8th wettest in state history.

    Among the standouts: Grand Junction, which is experiencing its wettest year in history, according to the Colorado Climate Center. The state is still in an El Niño weather pattern, meaning above average precipitation for the the next three months for all but the southwestern portion of the state. And summer heat, which held off during June, is now in full force, Climate Center data shows.

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