Click here to read the update (Megan Holcomb/Tracy Kosloff):
On June 22, 2020, Governor Polis activated the State Drought Mitigation and Response Plan and the supporting Drought- and Agricultural Impact Task Forces to respond to deepening drought conditions across the state. The recommendations to activate the State Drought Plan were reviewed by over 50 state experts, department directors, and external advisors that represent a range of Colorado economies, water users, and state regions. As of Thursday, July 2nd, dry conditions cover 84.3% of the state. To stay informed on the evolving 2020 drought season and response resources, please visit the Colorado Water Conservation Board drought website and submit questions or comments on Twitter at @CO_H2O.
The latest U.S. Drought Monitor, released July 2, presents abnormally dry conditions in all but 15.7% of the northernmost Colorado border. D4 (exceptional) drought conditions emerged for the first time on July 2 in Baca and Prowers counties (1.37% coverage) since Feb. 2019. D3 (extreme) conditions cover 33% of the state; D2 (severe drought) covers 22%; D1 (moderate drought) covers 12%; and D0 (abnormally dry) covers 15% of the state.
The 90-day Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI) (from March 23 to June 20) shows slightly below average moisture for nearly all of Colorado with deeper shortfalls along the eastern border. Above normal temperatures are likely to continue for the eastern half of state for next 2 weeks.
El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions are currently neutral with a 50/50 chance of La Niña or neutral conditions for the rest of summer and into the fall. Monsoonal patterns may emerge for Arizona and New Mexico in early July. Recall that during La Niña conditions, the eastern plains are more likely to see above average summer and winter temperatures. During El Niño, the entire state is more likely to experience below average temperatures.
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center three month outlook maps continue to show very high confidence for above average temperatures July through Sept. and a slight chance for below average precipitation for most of the state.
Reservoir storage, while 100% of average across the state, ranges from 62% of average in the Rio Grande to 115% of average in the Colorado and Yampa/White basins.
Several municipal water providers are reporting demands around 8% above normal and elevated but not extreme concerns around the lack of spring precipitation.