NWS Drought/Climate Update

Several storms during the middle and end of September brought some much-needed precipitation to southeast Colorado. The rain in portions of far southeast Colorado helped to alleviate extreme to exceptional drought conditions experienced across this area over the past several months. However, much more precipitation is required to overcome the hot and dry spring and summer seasons in the southern part of the state.

The U.S. Drought Monitor has exceptional (D4) drought conditions across Crowley, Otero, Kiowa, Bent and Prowers County. Extreme (D3) conditions are found in west-central and southeastern Las Animas and Baca Counties.

The latest Colorado Water and Availability Task Force report indicates that many cities have activated their drought stages resulting in some water restrictions from this past summer. Pueblo has begun to utilize their strategic reserve and is forecasting that they will have limited water to lease to the agriculture sector during the 2013 growing season. This may result in future impacts to the agriculture sector within the Arkansas River Basin should drought conditions persist.

The latest USDA Colorado Crop Report indicates some improvement in soil conditions with 82% of top soil moisture across the state as being rated as short or very short, compared to 93% being reported last week. However, only 52% of top soil was reported at short or very short at this same time last year. As for subsoil moisture, 95% was being reported as short or very short across Colorado, compared to 97% ratings last week and only 55% at this same time last year.

CPC soil moisture calculations still indicate much drier than normal conditions across most of south central and southeast Colorado, though satellite vegetation products indicate some improvement for these portions, including the far southeast plains.

Streamflow was below average across the Arkansas and upper Rio Grande Basins by the end of September. Overall reservoir storage levels were also running below average. At the end of August, combined reservoir storage levels in the Arkansas Basin were around 63% of average while combined levels in the upper Rio Grande Basin were around 50% of average.

Precipitation Amounts and Departure from Normal over the past 365 Days as of October 4, 2012.

                    Year’s Avg Precipitation – Departure from Avg in Inches
Eads                         11.45                                     -4.23
Haswell                      8.68                                     -6.66
Campo 7S                 14.54                                     -2.42
Walsh 1W                 20.81                                    +1.65
Kim 15NNE                13.26                                    -3.58
Walsenburg               13.13                                    -4.91
Trinidad                     10.80                                    -5.51
Lamar                          9.50                                     -5.70


Filed Under: AgricultureBusinesscommunityCountyEconomyFeaturedGranadaHollyLamarWeatherWiley


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