Conditions point to warmer, drier winter in store — The #Montrose Press #LaNiña #ENSO

Colorado Drought Monitor map Septermber 13, 2022.

Click the link to read the article on the Montrose Press website (Katharhynn Heidelberg). Here’s an excerpt:

The Upper Colorado River Basin recorded its ninth-warmest water year on record through August — and five of those record warm water years have fallen within the last 12. Despite recent, good moisture in the Southwest — sufficient to lift some pockets into a drought-free status — the region should brace itself for another warmer, drier winter and lower snowpack next year, climatologist Peter Goble said during the Tuesday, Sept. 13, Southwest drought briefing…Montrose enjoyed some wetter weather earlier this summer. It also saw near-record temperature highs during the first week of this month, which climatologists said is in keeping with the last four or so years. The U.S. Drought Monitor on Wednesday showed most of Montrose County in moderate drought, with a pocket of severe drought.

Goble also discussed long-term temperature and precipitation in the Upper Colorado Basin, delivering the bad — although perhaps unsurprising — news that it’s experiencing yet another warm water year…When it comes to precipitation, the Upper Colorado Basin has seen three drier than normal years in a row…

Goble said although monsoons this year brought some shorter term relief, “arguably” helped with wildfire season and somewhat improved the soil moisture picture, groundwater in the basin is still well below normal. Root zone soil moistures are in better shape than groundwater, but are still on the low side, which is anticipated to negatively influence runoff next year as the drier soils drink down moisture from precip. Goble said 2022’s spring snowpack was low and runoff, even lower, with values peaking between 70 and 90% of normal…Runoff values stood in the 50 to 80% range…

The winter precipitation outlook is not good, Goble said. Data show an increased chance of it falling below normal, edging up to equal chances north of central Utah and central Colorado. The La Niña weather pattern of drier winters is expected to hold sway and overall, the odds of a warmer, drier fall and winter “are elevated,” he said.

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