NWS-Pueblo Reports Drought on Increase in S.E. Colorado

National Weather Service Drought/Climate Summary as of June 1, 2012

A very warm and unusually dry spring has allowed for drought conditions to persist and advance across south central and southeast Colorado.

This past dry spring, coupled with a dry winter has allowed for drought conditions to persist.  The current U.S. Drought Monitor has reintroduced extreme drought (D3) conditions across most of Crowley County, along with portions of Kiowa County, extreme northeastern Otero and northwestern Bent counties, as well as extreme northeastern Pueblo County.

Severe drought (D2) conditions have expanded to include the rest of Crowley County, northern Otero and Bent counties and west central Kiowa County.  D2 conditions remain across extreme south central though southeast Las Animas County and extreme southern Baca County.  Moderate (D1) drought conditions remain in place across the rest of Las Animas County, Otero County, the rest of Bent County, western and northern Prowers County and most of the rest of Baca County.

Spring weather conditions across most of Colorado has allowed for a much earlier than normal melting of the snowpack across the higher terrain, leading to an earlier fire season as has been witnessed.  Various fire and firework bans have been enacted by state and local authorities.

The latest USDA Colorado Crop report indicates 75% of top soil moisture across the state as short or very short, with only 25% reported as being adequate or better.   This compares to 68% of top soil moisture being reported as short or very short last week and only 32% at this same time last year.

70% of subsoil moisture was being reporte3d as short or very short, which compares to 64% being reported as short or very short last week and only 39% at this same time last year.  CPS and VIC soil moisture calculations once again indicate drier than normal conditions across all of south central and southeast Colorado, with the worst conditions remaining across portions of western and south central Colorado.

As of June 1, the 2012 snowpack was nearly gone.  All that remained was some spotty high elevation snow.  In the Arkansas Basin, automated sensors also indicated a snowpack near zero percent of average, down from 25% of average last month at this time and tracking well behind last year’s 133% of average.

Water year precipitation is running below average across both the upper Rio Grande and Arkansas Basins.  As of June 1, the Arkansas Basin reported around 77% of average precipitation, down form 81% of average a month ago and lower than 94% of average a year ago.  Overall reservoir storage is running near or below average across southern Colorado.  The upper Rio Grande Basin at the end of May was at 70% of average overall, down from 73% the previous month and down from 79% at this time last year.  The Arkansas Basin storage was at 94% of average overall, up from 86% the previous month and higher than 86% this time last year.  Streamflow was below to well below average across the Arkansas and upper Rio Grande Basins on June 1 due to early snowpack melt.  Runoff seasonal volumes are estimated to be well below average for both basins.

The following is a 365 day comparison for current precipitation and the difference from last year as of June 1.

.                                              Current                               Inches Less
Eads                                        12.93                                     -2.75
Haswell                                  9.09                                       -6.25
Lamar                                    14.89                                      -0.31
Campo 7S                             13.11                                      -3.85
Walsh 1W                             13.76                                      -5.40
La Junta 20S                      13.76                                      -1.53
Las Animas                          9.00                                      -4.73
Kim                                         15.76                                     -1.08
Canon City                           10.32                                     -3.15
Walsenburg                         13.25                                     -4.79
Trinidad                               12.88                                      -3.43


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