Some Drought Improvement in Early Fall for Southeast Colorado



A wet summer, combined with good early season snowfall across the higher terrain and cool temperatures through October has  allowed for continued improvement in drought conditions across south central Colorado, but there has not been as much precipitation for southeastern plains counties. 

The National Weather Service out of Pueblo reports Moderate D1 Drought conditions are found in most of Baca County, Severe D2 Drought conditions are in northwestern Baca County, eastern Bent County and Kiowa Counties and Prowers County; Extreme D3 conditions are depicted in western Otero, Bent and Kiowa Counties, as well as central Kiowa and north central Las Animas County.  Exceptional D4 Drought conditions are in eastern Otero County, southwestern Kiowa County and extreme western Bent County. 

The latest CPC and VIC Soil Moisture calculations indicate normal to slightly above normal conditions in places across most of southeast Colorado.  However, soil moisture across the far southeast plains remains generally below normal with the largest deficits across portions of the low Arkansas River Valley. 

The latest USDA Colorado Crop Report indicated 40% of topsoil moisture across the state as short or very short as compared to 29% rated as short or very short last week and to 69% at this same time last year.  As for subsoil moisture, 49% was rated at short or very short, compared to 53% last week and to 91% at this same time last year.  Pasture and rangeland conditions across Colorado also continue to show improvements with 30% rated poor to very poor last week, compared to the 5 year average of 38% rated at poor to very poor at this time of year. 

The monsoonal rains help to ease water consumption across the area through the summer, though reservoir storage area-wide still remains below or well below average especially across southern Colorado.  The good early season snowfall has allowed for above normal snow water equivalent across all basins in Colorado at the end of October.  However, it is very early in the season with continued above normal snowpack needed to help fill area reservoirs in the spring.   

The Climate Prediction Center’s outlook for southeast Colorado for the next week indicates better chances above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation.  For the rest of November, the Center calls for a slight tilt to above normal temperatures for November, December and January and equal chances for mainly normal precipitation across the area. 

Precipitation levels for southeastern Colorado for October 2013, compared to 2012: 

                                   2013                       2012

Eads                          0.48                        0.47
Haswell                    0.37                        0.39
Holly 10.9S              0.54                        0.61
J. M. Dam                0.61                        0.25
La Junta                   0.26                        0.26
Lamar                      0.75                         0.51
Las Animas             0.49                         0.42
Walsh                      0.56                         0.94
Springfield              0.15                         0.88
Wiley                       0.56                         n/a

Filed Under: AgricultureBusinesscommunityCountyEconomyEnvironmentFeaturedHollyLamarProwers CountyWeatherWiley


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