Summary: November 19, 2019
Much of the Intermountain West, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Western Colorado and southwestern Wyoming, experienced warmer than average temperatures and did not receive precipitation this last week. Eastern Colorado received spotty precipitation ranging from 0.01 to 0.50” while northern Wyoming, Big Horn/Sheridan counties, saw the most moisture with 0.50 to 1.50” of precipitation.
While the cold October was helpful in delaying exacerbating drought severity, continued dryness across the Four Corners region and extending north into Utah and Colorado, continues to be a growing concern. With a dry summer and poor performing monsoon, extremely dry conditions extend back to 120 days, with widespread 120-day SPIs below -2. For lower elevations that don’t benefit as much from the stellar spring snows and runoff, there is more of an immediate concern. Hydrologically, the concern isn’t as large right now either, for the reservoirs are still in good condition. Streamflows ended at base flow a little lower than normal. Soils show the very poor conditions that will again come into play during the spring thaw and meltoff. For the higher elevations, impacts right now aren’t significant, and the rest of the snow season offers plenty of time for recovery. San Juan Basin should have a SWE of 3.5” by this time, but is currently sitting at less than an inch. However, it appears the next upcoming storm could possibly make all that up next week.
Outlook’s placement of the next upcoming storm couldn’t be better. It looks like cool, low-intensity, long duration moisture is forecast for the Four Corners, as well as southwestern Utah, this week with generous snow totals for the San Juans. The Four Corners region as well as southern Utah are expected to see upwards of 3.00” while the rest of the IMW are expected to see at least 0.25”. Much of western Colorado and eastern Utah are expected to see 0.75-1.50”. The outlook is showing closer to average temperatures next week with cooler than average temperatures on the two week outlook.