#Drought continues to worsen west of [the Continental] Divide — Vail Daily #ColoradoRiver #COriver #aridification

West Drought Monitor September 29, 2020. The most recent Colorado drought map shows a portion of Garfied, Mesa and Delta counties in “exceptional” drought, shown in the darkest shade. Eagle County, just east of the top portion of the darkest shade, is in “extreme” drought, along with the rest of the Western Slope.

From The Vail Daily (Scott N. Miller) via The Aspen Times:

Every square mile of Eagle County is in “extreme” drought. That’s the second-most severe classification. Portions of Garfield, Mesa and Delta counties are in the worst category, “exceptional” drought…

Erin Walter, a meteorologist at the Grand Junction office of the National Weather Service, said a high-pressure system will move out of the area toward the end of this week. That movement, along with a low-pressure system moving in off the Pacific coast, will create a chance of precipitation starting Saturday and lasting into Oct. 12.

That’s about it, though. Weather forecasters don’t predict the weather with confidence more than about seven days in advance. But the climate prediction arm of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration is calling for a chance of warmer and drier than average conditions for most of the contiguous portion of the U.S…

Holly Loff, the director of the Eagle River Watershed Council, said the Eagle River below Gypsum was recently running at 150 cubic feet per second. Normal flow this time of year is 229 cubic feet per second. The Eagle River at Avon has been running at 58.6 cubic feet per second, 51% of normal.

“It’s scary right now,” Loff said. Loff lives along the river in Gypsum, and said she can see rocks in the middle of the stream that have never before been above water.

Autumn is usually a dry period, although this fall is much drier than normal.

Diane Johnson, the communications and public affairs officer for the Eagle River Water & Sanitation District, said that the agency just after Labor Day put out the word to its customers to start winterizing their irrigation systems…

A La Nina develops with cooler-than-average temperatures in that part of the Pacific. That tends to bring storms through the Pacific Northwest, and that generally benefits the northern Colorado Rockies. The Vail Valley tends to benefit from La Nina patterns, although that isn’t a sure thing…

Johnson noted that this year’s drought is just a continuation of a pattern that’s persisted for this century so far.

“We have a changing climate, and we’ve got more folks living here,” Johnson said. “And the outlook for winter isn’t great.”

Leave a Reply