#Drought news August 3, 2023: Moderate drought was introduced in southeast #UT into S.W. #Colorado, Abnormally dry conditions expanded over N. #NM and S.W. UT and S.W. Colorado

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

Click the link to go to the US Drought Monitor website. Here’s an excerpt:

This Week’s Drought Summary

Dry conditions dominated the West and southern Plains, coupled with above-normal temperatures. Precipitation was most widespread throughout much of the upper Midwest and central Plains and into the Northeast. Almost the entire country had near- to above-normal temperatures this last week, with the greatest departures over the Southwest and central Plains where temperatures were at least 4-7 degrees above normal. Cooler-than-normal temperatures were recorded in the Pacific Northwest with departures of 3-6 degrees below normal. At the end of the current U.S. Drought Monitor period, significant rains developed over portions of the Midwest and central Plains, and they will be accounted for in the next analysis…

High Plains

Precipitation was mixed in the region for the week. Areas of northwest North Dakota and throughout much of Nebraska recorded above-normal precipitation while most of Kansas, eastern South Dakota and eastern Colorado were below normal for the week. Temperatures were above normal for the week along with some areas of high dew point temperatures too. Departures were generally 2-4 degrees above normal for the week, with areas of central Kansas, western North Dakota and eastern Nebraska 6-8 degrees above normal. The recent trend of wetter conditions over Nebraska allowed for improvements to be made to the drought depiction this week. Extreme and severe drought were improved over north central Nebraska and southeast Nebraska. Drought expanded and intensified over most of northern North Dakota where moderate drought conditions now cover much of the northern tier of the state. Abnormally dry conditions expanded over northern South Dakota…

Colorado Drought Monitor one week change map ending August 1, 2023


Temperatures were mixed in the region with areas of the Pacific Northwest recording below-normal temperatures with departures of 3-6 degrees below normal. Most of the rest of the region was near normal to above normal, with the greatest departures over the Southwest with temperatures generally 3-6 degrees above normal. The monsoon moisture became more widespread throughout the Southwest, with areas of the Four Corners states all seeing scattered rain events. The central valley of California as well as the Pacific Northwest also recorded above-normal precipitation. Moderate drought was introduced in southeast Utah into southwest Colorado and expanded in southern New Mexico. Abnormally dry conditions expanded over northern New Mexico and southwest Utah and southwest Colorado. Montana had an expansion of severe and moderate drought and a large expansion of abnormally dry conditions. In the Pacific Northwest, severe drought was expanded in Washington and Oregon, moderate drought expanded in northeast and southwest Oregon and abnormally dry conditions expanded into more of central Washington…


Temperatures were near normal to slightly above over most of the region, with the greatest departures from normal in west Texas and the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles, where departures were 4-6 degrees above normal. It was an incredibly dry week over the region with only a few pockets of showers over northern Arkansas and coastal areas of Texas. Most of the region recorded zero precipitation for the week. Severe drought expanded over east Texas and southern Louisiana and a new area of severe drought was introduced over far west Texas. Moderate drought expanded over southwest Oklahoma and northern Texas…

Looking Ahead

Over the next 5-7 days, precipitation chances are anticipated to be best over the northern Rocky Mountains, central Plains and into the Southeast where forecasted rain totals could approach 3-4 inches in places. Dry conditions will dominate the southern Plains, Southwest and along the West Coast. Temperatures will be 12-15 degrees below normal over the central Plains to the northern Rocky Mountains and 8-12 degrees above normal in the southern Plains and Southwest.

The 6–10 day outlooks show a high probability of cooler-than-normal temperatures over the Northern Rocky Mountains, central and northern Plains and into the Midwest. The best chances of above-normal temperatures are over the Southwest, southern Plains and into the Southeast. Much of the country is showing an above-normal chance of above-normal precipitation, with only the Southwest and far southern Plains having high probabilities of below-normal precipitation.

US Drought Monitor one week change map ending August 1, 2023

Just for grins here’s a slideshow of US Drought Monitor maps for early August for the past few years.

Navajo Nation #water attorney sees seeds of optimism in SCOTUS defeat — KUNM #ColoradoRiver #COriver #aridification

The San Juan River near Navajo Dam, New Mexico, Aug. 23, 2015. Photo credit: Phil Slattery Wikimedia Commons

Click the link to read the article on the KUNM website (Alice Fordham). Here’s an excerpt:

The Nation had called on the federal government under its treaty obligations to the tribe to assess Navajo water needs and make a plan to fulfill them if necessary, but the court’s decision was that the government had no obligation to do that. It was a blow to a place where nearly a third of people don’t have reliable access to clean water.

But as the Navajo Nation Council celebrated 100 years of governance earlier this month, President Buu Nygren raised the Supreme Court ruling in his opening speech.

“Many feel this 5-4 ruling was a loss for us, but it wasn’t,” he said.

That is because, according to President Nygren: “Both the majority and dissenting opinions noted correctly that the Navajo Nation has a claim to the water rights in the mainstream Colorado River.”

And the majority opinion notes that the Navajo, “may be able to assert the interests they claim in water rights litigation, including by seeking to intervene in cases that affect their claimed interests.”

The dissenting opinion, written by Justice Neil Gorsuch, included this note:

“After today, it is hard to see how this Court (or any court) could ever again fairly deny a request from the Navajo to intervene in litigation over the Colorado River or other water sources to which they might have a claim.”

Navajo Nation. Image via Cronkite News.

Some extremely sharp contrasts in rainfall across #Colorado in July 2023: parts of S.E CO had their wettest July on record, and much of S. and S.W. CO had their driest July — @ColoradoClimate

Stay tuned for our full July monthly summary next week