Most of the West has been experiencing drought this year. Bart Miller, with the environmental group Western Resource Advocates, said that the water levels we are seeing this year are nothing new.
“It’s kind of slightly below average for Wyoming and even more below average for the rest of the Colorado River Basin states,” he said. “We’re part of a trend, or at least if you look over the last 20 years, there’s been consistent below average stream flow, snowpack and just water to work with.”
Miller said areas in Colorado and other more southern states are much drier this year compared to Wyoming.
This winter had an average snowpack, but that it melted fairly early or evaporated quickly, he said. The inflow into Lake Powell from states including Wyoming, Colorado and Utah is projected to be 61 percent of average this year…
“Much of the state, at least half the state, is in one form of drought or another. That’s having some impact, certainly on folks irrigating but also on folks who like to fish and recreate in the outdoors,” he said. “As stream flows get low and as we get more and more years of drought, we’re seeing some of those benefits and attributes becoming more challenging.”
Recent rains from a plume of monsoon moisture have led to drought improvements across southern Colorado according to the latest report from the National Drought Mitigation Center.
Extreme drought – the second worst category – receded in Montezuma and Dolores counties. Extreme conditions also fully retreated from Otero County, and nearly disappeared from Bent and Prowers counties. Northern and eastern Baca County also saw improvements extreme drought. In each of the areas, severe drought replaced extreme conditions.
Northwest Colorado saw moderate drought overtake abnormally dry conditions in northern Moffat County, along with all of Routt and Jackson and most of Grand and Summit counties. The remainder of Eagle County also moved from abnormally dry to moderate drought, as did northwest Larimer County.
In northeast Colorado, severe drought reached northeast Logan and northwest Sedgwick counties, while slipping back to moderate drought elsewhere in the two counties. Severe conditions all but disappeared from Phillips County and much of eastern Yuma County. Northeast Cheyenne County in east central Colorado moved from severe conditions to moderate drought.
This week’s crop progress and condition report noted that non-irrigated crop and pasture areas continued to decline in the face of drought, with some spring crops about to fail without rain.
A drought-free area in Larimer, Weld, Boulder, Broomfield, Jefferson and Gilpin counties turned abnormally dry, while northeast Weld County became drought-free.
Many of the improved areas saw an inch or more of rain over the past week. In some cases, heavy rains caused flash flooding. Despite the improvements, the U.S. Monthly Drought Outlook for August paints a grim picture for the state. Existing drought is expected to persist across Colorado, while remaining abnormally dry areas are predicted to move into drought conditions over the course of the month. Drought improvements are not forecast anywhere in Colorado. Above-normal temperatures are also expected throughout August.
Overall, just one percent of Colorado is drought-free, down from 3 percent last week. Abnormally dry conditions cover 16 percent of the state compared to 23 percent in the previous report. Moderate drought moved up 11 percent to 25, while severe drought also increased three percent to 32. Extreme drought shrank to 27 percent from 32 percent.
Moderate to extreme drought conditions cover 84 percent of the state. The total exceeds 100 percent due to rounding.
Here’s an in-depth look at the current flooding disaster in Bangladesh from SominiSengupta and Julfikar Ali Manik that’s running in The New York Times. Click through and read the whole article. Here’s an excerpt:
The country’s latest calamity illustrates a striking inequity of our time: The people least responsible for climate change are among those most hurt by its consequences.
Torrential rains have submerged at least a quarter of Bangladesh, washing away the few things that count as assets for some of the world’s poorest people — their goats and chickens, houses of mud and tin, sacks of rice stored for the lean season.
It is the latest calamity to strike the delta nation of 165 million people. Only two months ago, a cyclone pummeled the country’s southwest. Along the coast, a rising sea has swallowed entire villages. And while it’s too soon to ascertain what role climate change has played in these latest floods, Bangladesh is already witnessing a pattern of more severe and more frequent river flooding than in the past along the mighty Brahmaputra River, scientists say, and that is projected to worsen in the years ahead as climate change intensifies the rains.
This is one of the most striking inequities of the modern era. Those who are least responsible for polluting Earth’s atmosphere are among those most hurt by its consequences. The average American is responsible for 33 times more planet-warming carbon dioxide than the average Bangladeshi.
This chasm has bedeviled climate diplomacy for a generation, and it is once again in stark relief as the coronavirus pandemic upends the global economy and threatens to push the world’s most vulnerable people deeper into ruin.
An estimated 24 to 37 percent of the country’s landmass is submerged, according to government estimates and satellite data By Tuesday, according to the most recent figures available, nearly a million homes were inundated and 4.7 million people were affected. At least 54 have died, most of them children.
The current floods, which are a result of intense rains upstream on the Brahmaputra, could last through the middle of August…
Poor countries have long sought a kind of reparations for what they call loss and damage from climate change. Rich countries, led by the United States and European Union, have resisted, mainly out of concern that they could be saddled with liability claims for climate damage.
It doesn’t help that the rich world has failed to deliver on a $100 billion aid package to help poor countries cope, promised as part of the 2015 Paris accord.