Summary: October 8, 2019
Last week for the Intermountain West region was dry with the exception of northern Wyoming and much of New Mexico. Northern Wyoming saw up to 1″ in most areas except for a dry spot in Big Horn and Park counties. New Mexico saw some widespread precipitation, with amounts ranging from 0.5″ up to 6″+, mainly in the southeastern part of the state. Because of varying topography, there is a lot of variation with precipitation amounts, but overall the precipitation was widespread. Northwest New Mexico missed out on the precipitation along with the rest of the region, with precipitation amounts less than 0.10″ through most of the region.
Despite the dryness, temperatures were near to below average for the northern and western part of the IMW region. Southern Colorado and all of New Mexico saw above average temperatures. This was a nice change from the past few months which saw much above normal temperatures with Colorado and New Mexico seeing the warmest September on record.
The warm dry weather has made an impact on ranching in much of southern Utah where water supplies are limited. Most of southwestern Colorado, having ample water supplies from a great runoff, haven’t see as bad of impacts thanks much of the area being irrigated. That said, SPIs in the area out to 4 months are showing D3 and D4 levels. Even with the west spring, this brings expansion of drought conditions.
Warm and dry weather has also impacted eastern Colorado, zapping the moisture in the soil making planting winter wheat difficult. Folks in southeast Colorado are hoping for a nice shot of precipitation before winter arrives. These impacts thanks to the dryness will bring some additional D0 expansion.
Streamflows in the UCRB are starting to show the dryness of late with an increasing number of streamgages showing below normal flows. The driest of the gages are showing up in the headwaters of the Colorado River. The Basin as a whole is still in good shape with the key gages seeing flows in the normal region.