NWS Drought Summary for SE CO as of January 5, 2012

Hydrologic Summary:
Mountain snowpack at the end of December was running slightly below average across southeast and south central Colorado.  The Arkansas Basin reported 88% of average snowpack overall.  The Rio Grande Basin in south central Colorado reported 92%.

Streamflow was generally near average at the end of December.  Overall reservoir storage was below average.  At the end of November, the Arkansas Basin reported 85% of average storage overall while the Rio Grande Basin reported 61% of average storage. 

Precipitation/Temperature Outlook:
The CPC outlook across south central and southeast Colorado for the next two weeks includes near normal temperatures and precipitation.  The outlook for the rest of January, February and March indicates equal chances of above, below and near normal temperatures and precipitation, save a slight tilt to above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation across the far southeast plains. 

Agriculture Impacts:
CPC soil moisture calculations continue to show improving conditions across the region, though still indicate local deficiencies up to 60 millimeters (up to 2 inches) with the worst conditions remaining across extreme southeast Colorado. 

Fire Danger Impacts:
Precipitation and snow cover has helped to lower the fire danger across the area with a few local fire restrictions still in place.  However, more fire restrictions and bans may be possible over the next several months as fire danger increases with cured fuels. 

U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook from National Weather Service:
Latest Seasonal Assessment –
The drought outlook for January 5 – March 31, 2012 was based upon climate anomalies associated with La Niña, short to medium range forecasts, climatology, and initial conditions. Persistence or development can be expected across much of the Southeast with the highest forecast confidence in Florida. Frequent periods of precipitation improved drought conditions across the southern Plains during the past two months. However, a return of dry weather and the ongoing La Niña favor persistence across most of southern Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. Despite the early winter snowfall in Arizona and New Mexico, La Niña elevates the odds for drought persistence across the Southwest. A lack of early winter precipitation resulted in moderate drought development and expansion of abnormal dryness across southern Oregon, California, and Nevada. Antecedent dryness coupled with no wet signal among precipitation tools favor persistence across northern California and northwest Nevada, while La Nina favors development across southern California. Some improvement is forecast in southern Oregon where La Niña tends to bring heavier precipitation amounts. A relatively dry winter climatology elevates the chances for persistence across the western Corn Belt and upper Mississippi Valley.


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