S.E. Colorado Drought Update



February showed a tale of two seasons across southeast Colorado.  The first half of the month was very warm with average temperatures running 10 degrees or more above average through the first 20 days of the month.  The first half also saw mainly dry conditions across the area with two weather systems bringing some snow to the higher elevations along with rain and snow to the lower elevations between February 9tyh and 16th.  A cool and unsettled weather pattern developed round February 20th and persisted through the end of the month, brining much needed precipitation to the state, especially the south and eastern portions of the area.

Despite above average precipitation across southeastern Colorado over the past several months, more precipitation will be need to overcome the deficits experiences throughout the past several years of extreme to exceptional drought.  The current US Drought Monitor shows little change in the conditions across the area with severe drought (D2) conditions remaining in place across the eastern two-thirds of Crowley, eastern Otero, eastern two-thirds of Las Animas and all of Kiowa, Bent, Baca and Prowers Counties.

CPS and VIC Soil Moisture calculations indicate near normal conditions across most of southeast Colorado with some improvements noted across portions of the San Luis Valley and the far southeast plains over the past month.

Two weeks of wet weather through the end of February and the beginning of March provided a significant increase in snowpack statewide which had been reeling after a very from first half of the month across the region.  Despite substantial accumulations over the post nine days of the month, 181% of normal precipitation statewide snowpack failed to get back to normal levels coming in at only 87% of normal overall on March 1st.  This is a slight increase from the 83% of normal snowpack reported last month, but is only 75% of the statewide snowpack reported at this same time last year.

The March 1st snowpack report for the Arkansas Basin remained one of the highest in the state, up from the 91% of average reported last month.  This however, is only 91% of the snowpack reported at this same time last year.  One a positive note, southern portions of the Basin saw marked improvement in snowpack of the past month.

Statewide reservoir storage levels at the end of February came in at 105% of average overall, which is around 90% of the storage available at this same time last year.  In the Arkansas Basin, storage levels on March 1st remained around the 80% of average overall reported last month and remains above the 60% of average levels reported at this same time last year.

The stormy end of February allowed for some improvements in late spring and early summer springflow runoff forecasts, especially across southern portions of the state.  The current forecasts in the Arkansas Basin, the latest stream flow forecasts range from 98% of average overall for the Arkansas River at Salida to around 85% of average overall from the Cucharas River near La Veta and the Purgatoire River near Trinidad.

The Climate Prediction Center’s outlook across south central and southeast Colorado over the next two weeks indicate better chances  of above normal temperatures and a slight chance for above normal precipitation.  The outlook for the rest of March, April and May indicate equal chances of above normal precipitation across southeast Colorado.

Filed Under: communityCountyEnvironmentFeaturedGranadaHollyLamarMedia ReleaseProwers CountyWeatherWiley


About the Author:

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Comments are closed.