Click on a thumbnail graphic to view a gallery of drought data from the US Drought Monitor.
Click here to go to the US Drought Monitor website. Here’s an excerpt:
This Week’s Drought Summary
Summer thunderstorms brought heavy rainfall to the Central Plains into parts of the Northeast, with showers and thunderstorms also occurring across parts of the Northwest, Southern Rockies, and Central Gulf Coast. Below-average temperatures accompanied the heavy precipitation for the most part. The Southwest saw little to no rain and record to near-record heat, while heat and humidity continued to the east. The above-average temperatures and dry conditions brought elevated fire risk over the Great Basin and portions of the northern Intermountain West. South central Alaska remained dry and fires continued to burn, with smoke warnings in effect. Heavy rains, flash flooding, and severe weather occurred as a front stretched from the Southern Mid-Atlantic into the Southern Plains…
In the Northern High Plains, normal conditions returned along the western to central North Dakota/Canadian border. Precipitation has been adequate and soil moisture conditions have improved. In the Southern High Plains, rainfall has been below average over the last couple of months – including the past week – in eastern Colorado while temperatures have been above average. Several areas of abnormal dryness were introduced this week, including in the central Colorado Mountains over the higher elevations, eastern Larimer and western Weld Counties and Colorado springs, and in Las Animas. With the heat, evaporative demand has been high for many of these locations. Reports from water providers indicate that there has been peak demand in the last week with lawn irrigation. Peak demand usually occurs in July. Southwestern Kansas has also seen a dearth of precipitation, and both D0 and D1 expanded westward in this area. The rest of the state, on the other hand has seen plentiful rainfall and D0 contracted westward in the central and south central region…
With respect to precipitation, 2019 to-date is a year of extremes in parts of the West. As monsoon rains continue to fail and heat continues to build, impacts, including wildfire risk, are growing in the Southwest. After emerging from nearly a decade of drought conditions on June 11, moderate drought (D1) returned to both the eastern and western parts of Arizona this week, and abnormally dry (D0) conditions spread across much of the rest of the state, save for part of the south. Locally, many areas are experiencing one of their 10 driest monsoon seasons on record. Phoenix is also on track to have its third or fourth hottest June-August period on record and Tucson its second hottest. The D1 that spread to eastern Arizona also spread over the remainder of northwestern New Mexico into southwestern Colorado and southeastern Utah at the Four Corners. In New Mexico, D1 in the south expanded eastward from Sierra County to the D1 area at the Texas border. Abnormally dry conditions also spread outward across the southwestern states, including across Imperial County, California, to join with the long-lasting D0 area in San Diego, Orange, and Riverside Counties…
Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana saw sharp gradients and some complicated rainfall patterns, with heavy precipitation in some places and little to none in others, and so many areas saw improvement in short-term dryness and drought while many others saw degradation. Conditions improved across part of the Oklahoma Panhandle into northern Texas and also in in the central region and southeast, but there was also a degradation to extreme drought (D3) along the Texas border, encompassing parts of Kiowa, Comanche, Cotton, and Tillman Counties (and northern Wichita and northeastern Wilbarger County in Texas) where rain was scarce. This is the first occurence of D3 in Oklahoma since September 2018. Temperatures here were in the 105-109 degree F range. In Texas, the D3 area to the west expanded, as did the D3 area in the extreme south, with a new small spot as well. Primary impacts across the state include wildfires, dry stock tanks, supplemental feeding, and impacts to late-season crops, namely cotton. Moderate drought spread from east Texas into southwestern Arkansas and northwestern Louisiana. Abnormal dryness also spread eastward to south central Arkansas and central to northeastern Louisiana…
Over the week beginning Tuesday, August 27, according to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, dry conditions are expected to continue across southern Texas and much of the western third of the continental U.S., while light to heavy rainfall may occur across the remainder of the country. Parts of Kansas may receive up to about 4 inches, with isolated higher amounts. Hurricane Dorian will bring heavy rain and potential flooding to Puerto Rico and Florida, where 4-8 inches of rain are expected from the storm, with locally higher amounts. Looking further ahead to September 2-6, below-normal temperatures are favored across Maine and parts of the Northern Plains and Midwest, nosediving into Oklahoma and northern Arkansas, while above-normal temperatures are forecast forAlaska, the western third of the CONUS, across most of Texas, and into the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states. Much of the Southwest and Alaska are both favored to have some badly needed above-average precipitation, as is the Southeast and the northern tier of the CONUS. There are enhanced probabilities of below-normal precipitation for the Southern and Central Plains into parts of the Midwest. Please note the forecast confidence for this period is above average, according to CPC.
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Here’s the release from the Colorado State Forest Service:
Wildfires are both natural and inevitable – including in wildland-urban interface settings where millions of Coloradans live. These fires can be particularly destructive in areas where forests are unhealthy, unmanaged and unnaturally dense.
For those interested in taking action, but who have lacked the means, funding is now available to help address this risk.
The Colorado State Forest Service announced today that it is accepting proposals from Colorado HOAs, community groups, local governments, utilities and nonprofit organizations seeking funding to restore forested areas, improve forest health, and reduce wildfire risk on non-federal land in the state.
Approximately $1 million in total funding is available.
The Forest Restoration and Wildfire Risk Mitigation Grant Program helps fund projects that strategically reduce the potential wildfire risk to property, infrastructure and water supplies and that promote forest health through scientifically based forestry practices.
Reduction of hazardous fuels
The competitive grant program is designed to reduce risk to people and property in the wildland-urban interface (WUI) and support long-term ecological restoration. Applications must not only promote forest health and address the reduction of hazardous fuels that could fuel a wildfire – such as trees and brush near homes – but also utilize wood products derived from forest management efforts.
The state can fund up to half the cost of each awarded project; grant recipients are required to match at least 50 percent of the total project cost through cash or in-kind contributions. Projects can be located on private, state, county or municipal forestlands.
Program funds also are allowable to fund the purchase of equipment that directly supports and expands on-the-ground opportunities to reduce hazardous fuels.
Applicants must coordinate proposed projects with relevant county officials to ensure consistency with county-level wildfire risk reduction planning. Follow-up monitoring also is a necessary component of this grant program, to help demonstrate the relative efficacy of various treatments and the utility of grant resources.
The CSFS will work with successful project applicants to conduct project monitoring and conduct site visits to assess effectiveness and completion of projects.
Additional emphasis will be given to projects that:
Are identified through a community-based collaborative process, such as a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) Are implemented strategically across land ownership boundaries; are conducted within a priority area identified in the Colorado State Forest Action Plan Utilize the labor of an accredited Colorado Youth or Veterans Corps organization Include forest treatments that result in the protection of water supplies
Applications must be submitted electronically to local CSFS Field Offices by 5 p.m. MST on Oct. 23, 2019. A technical advisory panel convened by the CSFS will review project applications and make funding recommendations. The CSFS will then notify successful applicants next spring.
Applications and additional information about the Forest Restoration and Wildfire Risk Mitigation Grant Program are available at CSFS Field Offices and online on the CSFS Grants & Funding Assistance webpage.