#Drought news: Abnormal dryness and drought expanded in #CO, #KS, #WY, #UT, #NM, #NV, #CA #AZ, #OK, and #TX

Click on a thumbnail graphic below to view a gallery of drought data from the US Drought Monitor.

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

This Week’s Drought Summary

The discussion in the Looking Ahead section is a description of what the official national guidance from the National Weather Service (NWS) National Centers for Environmental Prediction is depicting for current areas of dryness and drought. The utilized NWS forecast products include the WPC 5-day QPF and 5-day Mean Temperature progs, the 6–10 Day Outlooks of Temperature and Precipitation Probability, and the 8–14 Day Outlooks of Temperature and Precipitation Probability – valid as of late Wednesday afternoon of the USDM release week. The NWS forecast Web page used for this section is http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/forecasts/.

This U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) week began with a low pressure and frontal system draped across the Gulf and East Coasts. Tropical Storm Nestor and its remnants moved across the Southeast then up the East Coast at mid-week. Another front moved across the South and approached the East Coast as the week ended. This combination of synoptic systems dropped several inches of rain across the drought areas of eastern Texas and from the Mississippi River to the East Coast. Meanwhile, several Pacific frontal systems brought precipitation to the Pacific Northwest while the Southwest to southern High Plains continued dry. Drought and abnormal dryness contracted across parts of the Pacific Northwest and southern Plains, and much of the Southeast, Ohio Valley, and Mid-Atlantic to Northeast. Drought and abnormal dryness expanded in the Southwest and parts of the southern and central Plains, as well as northeast Puerto Rico…

High Plains

One to locally over 2 inches of precipitation fell across the Dakotas, but southern parts of the region were dry. Abnormal dryness and drought expanded in Colorado, Kansas, and Wyoming, and abnormal dryness established a toehold in southwestern Nebraska…


The abnormally dry (D0) areas of western Washington and Oregon received 2 to locally over 5 inches of precipitation this week, which was enough to end the D0 in those areas. But abnormal dryness and drought expanded from New Mexico to Nevada, with D0 inching a little further into eastern California. In southwest Utah, St. George (as of October 17) reported 122 days without measurable precipitation. As noted by the National Weather Service, this breaks the previous record of 121 days set in 1930. The Colorado Climate Center notes that this is only the fourth time since the site started reporting data in the late 19th century that the streak of consecutive rain-free days has topped 100, and not since the 1970s has that happened—until now. The last time St. George reported measurable precipitation was June 17, 2019…


Drought and abnormal dryness expanded across parts of Texas and Oklahoma where precipitation deficits continued to mount. But other parts of Texas, and parts of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee experienced a reduction of drought and abnormal dryness…

Looking Ahead

For October 24-29, another low pressure/frontal system will spread heavy precipitation across eastern Texas and Oklahoma, and the Lower Mississippi Valley to southern New England, with 2 or more inches expected across much of this area. Half an inch to 2 inches can be expected from this band to the East Coast, except parts of northern Florida to coastal South Carolina which likely will receive less than half an inch of rain. Up to an inch of precipitation is forecast along the Rocky Mountain Chain and in parts of the Washington coastal range. Otherwise, little to no precipitation is in the forecast for the rest of the West, the central to northern Plains, and western Great Lakes. Below-normal temperatures are predicted for the central contiguous U.S. (CONUS) and warmer-than-normal temperatures for the East and West coasts. For October 29-November 2, a huge trough in the upper atmosphere will continue to funnel cold air into the central part of the country, resulting in below-normal temperatures for most of the CONUS. Odds favor above-normal temperatures only along the East Coast and parts of northern California, as well as all of Alaska. Above-normal precipitation is favored across most of Alaska and across the CONUS mostly east of the Mississippi River, while below-normal precipitation is expected from the Rockies to the West Coast as well as the southern High Plains.

US Drought Monitor one week change map ending October 22, 2019.

#SouthPlatte Forum Day 2

Joe Frank and Jim Yahn received the “Friend of the South Platte” award from the forum committee. Don Ament had a bit of fun gently roasting both recipients.

Yesterday’s presentations were informative and entertaining. I especially liked Mary Powell’s explanation of current stream restoration techniques. She walked us through the history of Interstate 70 construction from above Dillon through Vail Pass and ending in Glenwood Canyon demonstrating how construction impacts evolved over time. Then she showed the same type of evolution on Little Dry Creek in the Denver suburbs.

Follow along today at the hash tag #spforum or on my Twitter feed @CoyoteGulch.

Left Hand and Creek restoration update

Left hand creek restoration. Photo credit: Colorado Ag Water Alliance

From AgInfo.net (Maura Bennett):

Click here for an audio report.

A new project by the Colorado Ag Water Alliance highlights how various water users in the state came together to restore Left Hand Creek in Boulder County after the devastating 2013 flood.

The Alliance’s project involves a series of stories like the Left Hand Creek’s restoration. The Boulder County restoration is first to go up in a video and shows how working together made the creek better for all users. And Colorado Ag Water Alliance’s Executive Director Greg Peterson says that includes improvements for irrigators.

One of the people behind the years-long restoration is Jesse Olson, Executive Director of the Left Hand Watershed Center.

Olsen: “This project wasn’t just a great win for the environment it was a great win for the landowners and the ag producers as well. Examples of that include protection of the diversion structure, also improving the water delivery efficiency and reducing the amount of sediment flowing downstream and clogging the diversion structures. It also provided cattle access for the cattle to safely get to the water source which was the creek. It also stabilized the land and allowed for more land to be used for grazing by stabilizing the banks. There were also environmental benefits for fish and bugs and improved water quality with the reconstruction of flood plains and improving the wetland vegetation along the creek.”

The CAWA’s Peterson says collaborations with multiple groups often is slow and sometimes just don’t happen. The Left Hand Creek example shows how farmers, ranchers, ditch companies, conservancy districts, environmental groups and private citizens all played a vital role. To see the video, go to http://www.coagwater.org.

Here’s a case brief for Coffin v. Left Hand Ditch, Co. for you water law enthusiasts. The case was pivotal in establishing prior appropriation.

Left Hand Creek NW of Boulder, Colorado. By Kayakcraig – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48080249