#Drought news: One class degradation in parts of N. mountains and E. plains for #Colorado

Click on a thumbnail graphic below 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

Mild weather returned across much of the country for several days, following a mid-November cold blast in the central and eastern United States. Meanwhile, significant precipitation fell during the drought-monitoring period in several areas, including the Southwest and interior Southeast. The Southwestern precipitation, which reversed a drying trend that began with a sub-par monsoon season, provided much-needed moisture and limited drought relief. In contrast, little precipitation fell in the Northwest, which continued to experience an increase in dryness-related impacts (e.g. poor snowpack, low streamflow, and dry soils). Farther east, rain further chipped away at lingering dryness across the South and East. Patchy drought persisted, however, across portions of the central and southern Plains, leading to adverse effects on some rangeland, pastures, and winter grains. As the drought-monitoring period ended on November 26, a pair of major storm systems—one emerging from the central Rockies and the other approaching the Pacific Coast—brought the promise of widespread precipitation that will be evaluated for next week’s U.S. Drought Monitor…

High Plains

Drought is confined to parts of Colorado and Kansas. However, further worsening of the drought situation occurred from southwestern through central Kansas, where moderate to severe drought (D1 to D2) was expanded. More than one-sixth (17%) of the winter wheat in Kansas was reported in very poor to poor condition on November 24, according to USDA. On the same date, USDA reported that topsoil moisture was more than 40% very short to short in Kansas (48%) and Colorado (42%)…


The Southwest’s most significant storm since spring 2019 delivered drought-easing precipitation in Arizona and portions of neighboring states, starting on November 19. A record-setting, 155-day streak without measurable precipitation finally ended in Saint George, Utah, as 1.29 inches fell in a 24-hour period on November 19-20. Elsewhere in Utah, Bryce Canyon Airport netted 1.85 inches in a 48-hour period from November 19-21. In northern Arizona, Flagstaff received 2.37 inches (6.6 inches of snow) on November 20-21. The 20th was a particularly wet day in several desert locations, including Kingman, Arizona (0.83 inch), and Las Vegas, Nevada (0.67 inch). From November 19-21, totals in southern California reached 2.67 inches in Campo and 2.14 inches in Ramona. Where the heaviest precipitation fell in southern California, abnormal dryness (D0) was removed. General reductions in the severity of moderate to severe drought (D1 to D2) were introduced across Arizona’s wettest areas, including the central one-third of the state. Farther east, however, drought continued to worsen in northeastern New Mexico, where severe drought (D2) was bridged across two previously existing areas. On November 24, New Mexico’s topsoil moisture was rated 57% very short to short, according to USDA, while subsoil moisture was 68% very short to short. Meanwhile, precipitation remained scarce across much of the Northwest. Although September was wet in the Northwest and October was rather cold, effects of short-term dryness are becoming more apparent in indicators such as streamflow, snowpack, and soil moisture. On November 24, topsoil moisture was rated 60% very short to short in Nevada, along with 44% in Oregon. Abnormal dry (D0) were expanded across northern sections of California and Nevada, as well as parts of Oregon and Washington. Through November 25, early-season snowpack was less than 25% of average in several river basins across California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. In addition, low streamflow values were apparent in the Pacific Northwest, especially across western Oregon…


There were only minor changes made to the drought depiction in Oklahoma and Texas, where mostly dry weather accompanied a gradual warming trend. Oklahoma’s panhandle (and neighboring areas) continued to experience some of the region’s harshest conditions, with moderate to severe drought (D1 to D2) further expanding. On November 24, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that topsoil moisture was 43% very short to short in Texas, along with 41% in Oklahoma. On the same date, Texas led the nation with 28% of its winter wheat rated in very poor to poor condition, compared to the national average of 14%. Farther east, there were few changes, although rain chipped away at pockets of abnormal dryness (D0) and moderate drought (D1) in a few areas. Though not in an area experiencing dryness, Knoxville, Tennessee, reported a daily-record rainfall total of 2.64 inches on November 23…

Looking Ahead

During the remainder of Thanksgiving week, a pair of major storm systems will result in a variety of weather hazards across the country. Both low-pressure systems will take similar paths across the central Plains, upper Midwest, and Northeast, although the latter storm will be a higher-impact event across the West. Five-day precipitation totals could broadly reach 1 to 3 inches or more from the Plains to the Appalachians, with higher liquid amounts (in the form of heavy snow) expected in some Western mountain locations—especially in California and the Southwest. East of the Rockies, both storms have the potential to produce major accumulations of wind-driven snow, particularly across portions of the northern and central Plains and upper Midwest, leading to holiday-week travel disruptions. In addition, strong to locally severe thunderstorms could sweep across the South, especially on November 29-30. By December 1, a coastal low-pressure system may begin to intensify along the Atlantic Seaboard, while a new Pacific storm will begin to affect the Far West.

The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for December 2 – 6 calls for the likelihood of near- or below-normal temperatures nationwide, except for warmer-than-normal weather in coastal California and across portions of the southern High Plains and the Southwest. Meanwhile, near- or below-normal precipitation in the eastern half of the country should contrast with wetter-than-normal conditions from California to the Rockies and northern High Plains.

West Drought Monitor one week change map ending November 26, 2019.

#Snowpack news: A beautiful upslope snowstorm for the #FrontRange, more widespread snow on the way, look out #SanJuan mountains

Westwide SNOTEL basin-filled map November 27, 2019 via the NRCS.

From The Denver Post (Chris Bianchi):

As much as 2 feet of snow fell across parts of the metro area on Monday and Tuesday, and some parts of Colorado saw as much as 33 inches of snowfall from what was likely most of northeast Colorado’s biggest snowstorm in at least three years.

While most of the immediate Denver metro area saw slightly higher snowfall totals, Denver officially received 9.5 inches of snow at the city’s official observation site at Denver International Airport. The 8.5-inch snow on Tuesday made it Denver’s snowiest day since April 16, 2016 -0 a three-and-a-half-year stretch.

It’s also been a long time since Denver’s seen a November snow day of that magnitude. Tuesday was Denver’s snowiest November day since 1994, according to official records from the National Weather Service in Boulder.

For the season, Denver’s now up to 25.7 inches of snowfall so far this winter, making it the snowiest start to a winter season since 2009. That 25.7 total is also already as much as or more than two of Denver’s past three entire winter totals. That’s right: Denver’s already seen more snow than what it saw during the entire 2016-17 winter (21.8 inches) and equal to what it saw in 2017-18 (25.7 inches)…

So far this November, Denver’s now seen 13.2 inches of snowfall, making it the snowiest November since 1994…

In Boulder, a total of 20.7 inches of snow fell, according to the National Weather Service. That made it the city’s third-snowiest day on record, and the snowiest overall since 1979…

Fort Collins saw 11.6 inches of snow on Tuesday, making it the city’s snowiest November day since 1979, and second-snowiest November day ever recorded. The city finished with an impressive 16.5 inches of total snowfall, falling closer to the bull’s-eye of highest snowfall amounts from this storm.