Southwest #Colorado remains in severe #drought — The Cortez Journal

West Drought Monitor December 24, 2019.

From The Cortez Journal (Jim Mimiaga):

Much of Southwest Colorado remains listed in a severe drought although it has accumulated 130% of average snowpack.

According the U.S. Drought Monitor as of Dec. 24, all of Montezuma County and all but the northern edge of La Plata County and the eastern edge of Archuleta County remain listed in severe drought. Virtually all of Dolores, Montrose and Ouray counties were designated in a severe drought.

As of Dec. 30, the severe drought designation remained despite an above-average snowpack for Southwest Colorado.

San Miguel, Dolores, Animas, and San Juan Basin High/Low graph December 30, 2019 via the NRCS.

A SNOTEL map showed 130% of the 30-year average snowpack for the San Juan, Animas, Dolores and San Miguel river basins as of Dec. 30.

The reason the region remains in the drought category is because the drought monitor tracks precipitation over many previous months, said Ken Curtis, general manager of the Dolores Water Conservancy District that manages McPhee Reservoir.

July through October was very dry, with below-average moisture. It will take continued average, to above-average moisture to knock the area out of drought, he said…

A large part of Colorado’s Western Slope remains in severe or moderate drought.

In fact, only the northeast section of the state, including the Denver metro area and the northern mountains around Steamboat Springs, are not under some kind of drought listing.

In all, nearly 70% of Colorado is abnormally dry or in moderate or severe drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. A year ago, roughly 85% of the state had some kind of drought status, including 11% that was listed as being in exceptional drought.

Despite the continued dry conditions, forecasters said things are better than they were last year at this time when exceptional and extreme drought – the worst categories – had set in. Over the last three months, parts of southern Arizona and New Mexico recovered but portions of Utah and Colorado dried out…

Purgatory Resort was reporting a 54-inch base depth Monday, Telluride Ski Area was reporting a 43-inch base, and Wolf Creek Ski Area was reporting an 81-inch midway base depth.

Colorado Statewide Snowpack basin-filled map December 30, 2019 via the NRCS.

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