Record Heat Continues in S.E. Colorado


Willow Creek Near Country Village in Lamar

Precipitation across Colorado has been tempered by high temperatures and evapotranspiration (ET) rates that are at or above reference high levels for many areas of the state.  High ET rates are a contributing factor in crop loss and poor range lands seen across Colorado.  Municipalities are reporting increased demand and decreasing storage volumes, yet reservoir storage remains well above 2002 levels.  Municipalities have implemented both voluntary and mandatory restrictions. 

Indicators reported by the Colorado Division of Water Resources, the CWCB and State Department of Natural Resources show: 

Reservoir storage is at 78% statewide with the lowest storage in the state is in the Rio Grande River basin at 47% of average. 

Monsoonal rains have dropped as much as 200% or more of average in July for many mountain and foothill areas. 

ENSO conditions appear to be transitioning to El Nino this summer.  El Nino conditions would favor above average moisture for Colorado in the fall. 

As of the July 22, 2012 US Drought Monitor, 100% of Colorado is experiencing some level of drought classification.  D2 and D3 levels predominate over 70% of the state.  1.77% of the state is experiencing exceptional drought on the eastern plains. 

62 of 64 Counties in the state have received primary secretarial disaster designations for cop loss, while the remaining two are eligible as contiguous counties. 

Failed and prevented crops are reported as are irrigation abandonments.  As of July 7, 2012, nearly 49,000 acres of crops have been reported failed, most of which is wheat; while nearly 98,000 acres have been reported as prevented, most of which is corn. 

The Modified Palmer Drought Severity Index indicates that much of Colorado is -3 or drier.  Anything below -3 is considered severe drought, while -4 or less is classified as extreme drought. 

The National Weather Service reports as of July 27, 2012 the US Drought Monitor has expanded D4 conditions to include all of Crowley County, western Kiowa County, Northern Otero and Bent Counties and extreme eastern Pueblo County.  Northern Prowers County and southern Baca County is rated at D3. 

The latest USDA Colorado Crop Report indicates 87% of top soil moisture across the state as being short or very short, compared to 81% last week.  Only 38% of top soil was reported as short or very short at this same time last year.  As for subsoil moisture, 90% was being reported as short or very short, compared to 87% last week and 37% this time last year.  CPS and VIC soil moisture calculations continue to indicate much drier than normal conditions across most of south central and southeast Colorado, with the worst conditions remaining across portions of western and south central Colorado. 

Colorado Springs, Alamosa and Pueblo continue to set record high temperatures for a prolonged duration in June and portions of July, tying or breaking previous records of high temperatures or length of high temperature recordings.

Willow Creek Looking North from County Village

 Streamflow remained well below average across the Arkansas and Upper Rio Grande basins at the end of June.  Overall reservoir storage levels were also running below average.  At the end of June, combined storage levels in the Arkansas basin were around 64% of average.

 Inches of Precipitation Received in S.E. Colorado for July 2012, compared to July 2011

                                        July 2011                              July 2012
Eads                                  2.56                                        2.21
Haswell                           2.74                                        0.76
J. M. Dam                        0.82                                        1.18
La Junta                           1.07                                        0.88
Holly                                 2.14                                        0.35
Lamar                               2.92                                        0.32
Las Animas                     0.97                                        0.00
Campo                             1.32                                        2.08
Trinidad                          1.44                                        0.36
Springfield                    0.88                                         0.65
Walsenburg                  0.87                                         1.12
Walsh                              1.42                                         1.61     

by Russ Baldwin  


Filed Under: AgricultureBusinessCitycommunityCountyEconomyEnergyFeaturedGranadaHollyLamarUtilitiesWeatherWiley


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