Drought Information Statement-NWS Pueblo


Higher terrain areas of Colorado benefitted from cooler temperatures and good precipitation for March, 2014.  However, warmer, drier and windy weather prevailed through the rest of the state with most of southeast Colorado experiencing below normal precipitation.  Portions of the Central Mountains and Wet Mountains received at or above normal precipitation for March.  With this in mind, the current U.S. Drought Monitor indicates increasing drought conditions across portions of the southeast Plains. 

Extreme drought (D3) conditions have expanded south and east across the lower Arkansas River Valley and now includes most of Crowley County, western Otero County, most of Bent and Prowers Counties, much of western and southern Kiowa County as well as extreme northeast and extreme south central Las Animas County and extreme northwest and extreme southeast Baca County.  

Exceptional drought (D4) conditions are evident across southeastern Crowley County, eastern Otero County, southwestern Kiowa County and extreme western Bent County.   

Severe (D2) drought conditions have also expanded to include the rest of Baca County, and can be found in central and eastern Las Animas County and northeastern Kiowa County. 

Portions of the southeast plains have continued to see the loss of topsoil due to lack of vegetation as a result of long term drought and winds associated with strong cold fronts moving across the region.  The winds and associated blowing dust and tumbleweeds has been a persistent problem throughout southeastern Colorado this past winter and early spring. 

The latest CPS and VIC Soil Moisture calculations continue to indicate near normal to above normal conditions in place across most of south central and southeast Colorado.  The one exception remains across the far southeast Plains, especially across portions of the lower Arkansas River Valley where the largest soil moisture deficits continue to be reported. 

Alamosa received 0.40 inches of precipitation and 3.4 inches of snow through March which is 0.13 inches and 1.6 inches below normal, respectively.  Colorado Springs received 0.42 inches of precipitation and 2.8 inches of snow through March which is 0.58 inches and 5.2 inches below normal, respectively.  Pueblo received 0.76 inches of precipitation and 2.4 inches of snow in March which is 0.17 inches and 3.3 inches below normal, respectively. 

The following is a measurement of precipitation in inches received for the past 365 days as of April 10, 2014 and departure (-) from normal levels. 

Eads                       14.99/-0.69
Ordway 21N           6.05/-6.50
Las Animas             8.99/-4.74
Lamar                    14.36/-0.84
Campo 7S             11.49/-5.47
Walsh                    17.50/-1.66
Trinidad                13.67/-2.64
Kim 15NNE           12.58/-4.26
Climax                   31.33/+7.35 

Statewide precipitation through March was near average overall, which kept statewide April 1st snowpack at 115% of average overall and is 157% of last year’s statewide total at this same time.  Unfortunately this precipitation is now evenly distributed across Colorado with the northern and central basins continuing to track well above average conditions where the southern basins continue to see below to well below average readings. 

In the Arkansas Basin, the April 1st snowpack reading was at 112% of average overall which is a 3% increase from last month’s reading and remains an impressive 156% of the snowpack in place from the same time last year.  The snowpack across the Arkansas Basin keeps the overall trend of not being evenly distributed with the upper Arkansas Sub Basins snowpack running at 134% of normal with the Purgatoire Sub Basin running at 58% of normal as of April 1st. 

Statewide reservoir storage levels decreased slightly over the past month and were at 89% of average overall as of April 1st.  Storage levels in the Arkansas Basin were the lowest in the state at 60% of average overall as of April 1st.  This remains well above the 49% of average storage recorded at this same time last year.  Late spring and early summer streamflow forecasts across southern portions of the Arkansas basin remain generally below or well below average.


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