An All Too Familiar Sight

Northbound on 287 North of Campo – Picture by Don Steerman

North of Clay Creek, south of Lamar – Picture by Doug Hasser

Main Street Lamar, Looking North Around 3pm

Southbound View of Lamar’s Main Street as the Dust Storm’s Edge Moves into Town

Alter the size and shape of the 18 wheeler in the first photograph to what it might have looked like 80 years ago and this could have been a picture taken around 1930.  Instead, it was photographed Monday afternoon, April 22, along northbound Highway 287, several miles north of Campo.

The eastern plains endured another brief dust storm that closed highway 50 west of Lamar, dropped temperatures by 30 degrees through the afternoon and briefly dropped muddy rain along the streets and splattered almost every vehicle that went through the car wash in the past couple of days.  No highway accidents were reported which is a better deal that Pueblo area residents had last week when wind storms scattered parts of buildings along I-25, causing that highway to be closed and caused several accidents. 

Prowers County enjoyed a dusting of snow overnight Tuesday and again on Tuesday afternoon, but only a trace of precipitation came from it.  The county is still under D4 and D3 drought classifications, as is most of southeastern Colorado.  The City of Lamar announced mandatory water restrictions will be in effect as of May 2. 

The Colorado Water Conservancy Board released its most recent Drought Update for Colorado: 

 Recent weeks have brought increased precipitation in the northern portion of the state and cooler temperatures have helped to maintain snowpack; levels in the northwest corner have reached near normal conditions and statewide snowpack has increased to 90% of normal. However, the southern portions of the state are experiencing rapid deterioration of conditions and the eastern plains have seen devastating dust storms. Storage remains below average and water providers are preparing for continued drought conditions throughout the spring and summer.  

§ As of the April 16, 2013 US Drought Monitor, 100% of Colorado is experiencing some level of drought classification. D1 (moderate) and D2 (severe) cover 69% of the state, while D3 (extreme) accounts for an additional 25%. 14% of the state is now experiencing exceptional drought (D4), a decrease from last month.  

§ Spring snow storms have brought significant gains in the snowpack of the northern portions of the state; with the Yampa/ White, North Platte and Colorado basins all near normal at 98, 102 and 103% respectively. The lowest snowpack in the state is in the Upper Rio Grande basin (70%) while the Southwest basins is experiencing 71% and the Arkansas is at 79% of normal for the water year. The Gunnison and the South Platte have also seen increases and are now both at 88 % of average. * 

§ Despite recent gains in snowpack municipalities and water providers are still responding to drought conditions with both mandatory and voluntary watering restrictions throughout the spring and summer demand season. The CWCB drought response portal continues to help individuals determine the restrictions in their specific community. 

§ As of the first of April statewide reservoir storage is at 71% of average. The highest storage levels are in the Yampa/ White River Basin, at 105% of average while the lowest storage in the state is the Rio Grande River basin at 54% of average. All other basins range from 55% to 84% of average. Last year this time the state was at 108% of average reservoir storage.* 

§ Surface Water Supply Index (SWSI) values have largely decreased across the state over the last month and all values remain negative. Below average reservoir storage and streamflow forecasts contribute to these values and data reflect conditions on April 1, 2013. Recent storms have helped to increase streamflow forecasts by as much as 10% in portions of northern and central Colorado, a component of the SWSI, however despite the increase they remain well below average. 

§ The long term experimental forecast for April through June of this year is projecting above normal moisture for the eastern plains of the state. Additionally, the Climate Prediction Center at NOAA is forecasting above average temperatures statewide and persistent drought conditions across western portions of the state, with some relief possible on the eastern plains.  

§ The National Interagency Fire Center Predictive services outlook indicates normal wildland fire potential is expected across most of Colorado from May into July.  

§ A report from the USFS on Bark Beetles in the Rocky Mountain Region indicates that 4.2 Million acres of land in Colorado and adjacent lands in southern Wyoming have been affected by Mountain Pine Beetle, but the outbreak of the last decade is largely on the decline. However, Spruce beetle is on the rise and is expanding from southern Colorado north toward the Gunnison region.

Filed Under: AgricultureBusinessCitycommunityCountyFeaturedHistoryLamarProwers CountyPublic SafetyTransportationUtilitiesWeather


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