Drought Update Information from NWS-May Rains Helping

SE Colorado Weather 12-14 (2)

A stormy middle and late April, along with a very wet start to May has brought widespread beneficial precipitation to the area, especially across the eastern mountains and portions of the southeast plains.

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor, issued Thursday, May 7, has trimmed portions of the severe drought (D2) conditions across portions of Kiowa, Bent, Prowers, Baca and Las Animas counties.  Severe drought conditions are now confined to the eastern 2/3rds of Crowley and Otero counties, western Kiowa County, most of Bent County, the southern 2/3rds of Prowers County, most of Baca County and north-central to extreme northeastern Las Animas County.

While widespread and beneficial precipitation was received across the area in the middle and end of April, the May 1st statewide snowpack reading fell to 61% of normal overall.  This is down from the 69% of normal snowpack reported last month and is only 61 % of the snowpack reported at this same time last year.  There also remains substantial differences in the snowpack distribution with near normal readings across northern basins and much below normal readings across the western and southern basins.

Statewide reservoir storage levels at the end of April came in at 108% of average overall.  This is up slightly from the 107% of average storage last month and is also above the 93% of the average storage available at this same time last year.  However, storage levels across southern portions of the state remain well behind the storage levels across northern portions of the state.

In the Arkansas Basin, storage levels on May 1st remained around the 80% of average overall reported last month and remains above the 59% of average storage levels reported at this same time last year.

The below average snowpack overall continues to put a damper on late spring and early summer streamflow runoff forecasts, especially across southern portions of the state.

In the Arkansas Basin, the latest stream flow forecasts range from near 80% of average overall for the Arkansas River at Salida and Chalk Creek near Northrop, to around 50% of average overall for the Cucharas River near La Veta and the Huerfano River near Redwing, and around 36% of average overall for Grape Creek near Westcliffe.

Colorado Locations Indicating Precipitation Totals and Departure from Normal in Inches:

.                        PAST Month……..PAST 3 Mos……PAST 6 Mos …….PAST 365

Eads                1.19/-0.25         2.42/-0.40           3.95/-0.05        20.46/+4.78
Lamar             1.19/-0.13         2.73/+0.20          3.80/+0.19         17.18/+1.98
Walsh 1W      0.76/-0.80         2.26/-0.87          5.56/+0.80          17.33/-1.83
Campo 7S      0.62/-0.71          1.91/-0.80            3.60/-0.37         15.90/-1.06
Ordway 21N 0.39/-0.79          1.19/-1.06               1.51/-1.62           7.92/-4.63
Las Animas  1.61/+0.37         2.74/+0.16             3.38/-0.37         11.09/-2.64
Kim 15 NNE 1.64/-0.07         3.28/-0.20            5.93/+0.53        21.05/+4.21
Wlsnbrg       2.58/+0.40        6.72/+1.67             9.23/+1.02        21.99/+3.95
Trinidad       2.48/+1.20        4.69/+1.67             6.51/+1.58          15.84/-0.47

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