#Drought news: There was expansion of D3 (Extreme Drought) in SE #Colorado

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

Click here to go to the United States Drought Monitor website. Here’s an excerpt:

This Week’s Drought Summary

A strong upper-level ridge developed over the Southwest at the beginning of June, and expanded east to the southern Great Plains. 7-day temperatures (June 2 to 8) averaged more than 10 degrees F above normal across much of the southern to central Great Plains until a strong cold front arrived on June 9. From June 6 to 8, a vigorous upper-level trough progressed east and resulted in varying amounts of rainfall and much cooler temperatures from the Pacific Northwest to the northern Rockies and northern Great Plains. Around the periphery of the upper-level ridge, mesoscale convective systems with severe thunderstorms and locally heavy rain (more than 2 inches) occurred from the Upper and Middle Mississippi Valley southeast to the mid-Atlantic. After spending multiple days stationary over southern Mexico, Tropical Storm Cristobal tracked north across the Gulf of Mexico and made landfall in southeast Louisiana on June 7. The heaviest rainfall occurred to the east of its landfall. 7-day precipitation amounts (ending 12Z June 9) exceeded 5 inches, with locally higher amounts, from the Mississippi Gulf Coast east to the Florida Panhandle. A weak surface low remained located across the Gulf of Alaska at the beginning of June. The most widespread rainfall (more than 1 inch) occurred across southeast coastal Alaska, while scattered convection raised wildfire concerns over the interior of Alaska. Rainfall was suppressed ¬across Hawaii this past week, while heavy rainfall occurred well west of Puerto Rico during the first week of June…

High Plains

Extreme drought (D3) was expanded across southeast Colorado based in part on soil moisture in the lowest 5th percentile. Above normal temperatures coupled with periods of strong winds continue to result in rapidly worsening conditions and reports of widespread selling of cattle. Trinidad, Colorado recorded only 1.66″ of precip year-to-date which is the driest January 1-June 9 on record. Data here dates back to 1948.The intensifying and developing drought conditions across Oklahoma also extended into the southern two-thirds of Kansas. This region missed out the widespread rainfall farther to the north across Nebraska and much above normal temperatures prevailed during the first week of June. Following the previous week’s expansion of abnormal dryness to cover a majority of Wyoming, moderate short-term drought (D1) was added to parts of Wyoming where the largest 60 to 90-day precipitation deficits along with SPI values support it. Widespread 7-day amounts of 1 or more inches of rainfall precluded additional expansion of abnormal dryness (D0) across much of the northern Great Plains, while there was a slight reduction of D0 across western Nebraska based on 7-day rainfall amounts…


Drought is rapidly developing or intensifying across northern and eastern New Mexico. Abnormal dryness was introduced to southeast Arizona based on SPI values. In addition, May 2020 was the 5th warmest May on record which is likely exacerbating the dyrness as a number of wildfires have developed. Abnormal dryness (D0) and moderate drought (D1) was expanded across southwest Utah, while the addition of extreme drought (D3) to Utah was supported by SPI values at various time scales. Farther to the north across Montana, widespread precipitation precluded a large expansion of abnormal dryness except for areas bordering Canada.

Unseasonably heavy precipitation, including high-elevation snow, prompted a slight decrease in the coverage of severe drought (D2) across parts of northeastern Utah. This decrease occurred where more than 1 inch (liquid equivalent) was observed. Likewise, 7-day precipitation (more than 1 inch) along with a wet late spring resulted in a slight decrease in extreme drought (D3) across northern California and severe drought (D2) in the southwest corner of Washington. Above normal precipitation during May into the beginning of June along with an increase in 28-day streamflows prompted slight improvements, while conditions worsened east of the Cascades. An increase in soil moisture and easing of long-term precipitation deficits resulted in a small 1-category improvement to the drought status across northeast Washington…


Drought continues to rapidly develop and intensify across the southern Great Plains. During a relatively wet time of year, precipitation has averaged less than 50 percent across much of western Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle. This lack of rainfall coupled with periods of much above normal temperatures and strong winds have dried out topsoils quickly. According to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, topsoil moisture being rated as short or very short across Oklahoma increased from 23 to 53 percent during the past week. Conversely, 1 to 2-category improvements were made along the Gulf Coast. Total rainfall amounts, associated with Tropical Storm Cristobal, included 8 inches at Pascagoula, Mississippi. Moderate long-term drought remains designated for the Mississippi Gulf Coast due to precipitation deficits dating back to 90 and 180 days…

Looking Ahead

On June 11, a cold front is forecast to cross the eastern U.S. Surface high pressure, behind this front, is likely to result in mostly dry weather from the Appalachians west to the Rockies. Along with the dry weather, a return of above normal temperatures is likely across the central and southern Great Plains. From June 11-15, the heaviest precipitation (locally more than 1 inch) is forecast across the eastern Carolinas and Florida Peninsula. Following the heavy to excessive rainfall during early June, an extended period of dry weather is likely along the Gulf Coast. Seasonal dryness is forecast across the Southwest and California, while occasional light precipitation occurs across the Pacific Northwest.

The CPC 6-10 day outlook (June 16-20) indicates increased chances of above normal temperatures extending from the Great Plains northeast to the Great Lakes and New England with below normal temperature most likely across the northern Rockies. A large area with increased chances of below normal precipitation covers most of the Great Plains, Mississippi Valley, Corn Belt, and Gulf Coast States. A slight tilt toward above normal precipitation is limited to the mid-Atlantic, south Florida, and parts of the Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies. Above normal temperatures are favored throughout Alaska along with slightly elevated probabilities of above normal precipitation.

United States Drought Monitor one week change map ending June 9, 2020.

State strengthens rules protecting groundwater from oil, gas operations — The Broomfield Enterprise

Groundwater movement via the USGS

From The Denver Post (Judith Kohler) via The Broomfield Enterprise:

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission approved the rules Wednesday as part of ongoing revisions to oil and gas regulations mandated by Senate Bill 181, approved by the legislature in 2019.

The regulations deal with the well bore, or the hole that’s drilled to access oil or gas as well as the pipes and casings installed to inject fluids to make fractures in rocks and sand and bring up the oil and gas. The casings and cement that are part of the construction are also meant to ensure that no fracking fluids, oil or gas escape and flow into groundwater.

Heading into the hearing, there was general agreement among the parties on the proposed changes. Since the COGCC and the state Air Quality Control Commission began writing new rules, oil and gas industry representatives, community and environmental groups have clashed with each other and with agency staffers in hearings and meetings over how far the regulations should go.

But Julie Murphy, COGCC deputy director, said the agency was able to consider new rules on well bores earlier than expected thanks to a broad consensus among the various parties. She said the “top-line” change is the new requirement that the pressure in all wells across the state be tested annually to ensure that the casings and cement are still in good shape.

The annual testing and regular monitoring approved put Colorado at the head of the pack among oil- and gas-producing states, said Adam Peltz, an attorney with Environmental Defense Fund who has reviewed and worked on similar regulations across the country. He noted that the COGCC has tried to incorporate as many recommendations as possible from a 136-point list put together by a multi-state body of regulators and policy makers.

Another important change is a more precautionary approach to making sure that groundwater no matter, how far down it is located, is protected by isolating the oil, gas and fracking fluids with casings and cement, Murphy said…

The new rule is consistent with Colorado state groundwater standards, Freeman said. The COGCC staff added language saying that groundwater with less than 10,000 parts per million total dissolved solids in it must be protected, Freeman said.

The standard addresses the amount of salt in the water is and is the same one in the federal Safe Drinking Water Act and used by the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission, Freeman said.

Water with 3,000-10,000 parts per million of total dissolved solids is often called “brackish,” or saltier than fresh water, but it can be treated to use for drinking.

Press Release: A Statement on the 40th Anniversary of Arizona Groundwater Management Act of 1980 — Arizona Water News

PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Doug MacEachern or Shauna Evans June 10, 2020 PHONE: 602.771. 8507 or 602.771.8079 A Statement on the 40th Anniversary of Arizona Groundwater Management Act […]

via Press Release: A Statement on the 40th Anniversary of Arizona Groundwater Management Act of 1980 — Arizona Water News