Drought news: November weather continues 2012’s dryness and warm temperatures #CODrought #COwx

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From the National Weather Service Pueblo Office:

DROUGHT INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PUEBLO CO
1245 PM MDT MON DEC 10 2012

…DROUGHT CONDITIONS PERSIST AND EXPAND ACROSS SOUTH CENTRAL AND
SOUTHEAST COLORADO…

SYNOPSIS…

AFTER A RELATIVELY COOL MONTH OF OCTOBER…THE PAST MONTH OF NOVEMBER RETURNED TO THE FAMILIAR THEME PLAYED OUT THROUGH THE YEAR AS A WHOLE…WITH MUCH WARMER AND DRIER THAN NORMAL CONDITIONS EXPERIENCED ACROSS MOST OF SOUTH CENTRAL AND SOUTHEAST COLORADO. ACCORDING TO THE LATEST COLORADO WATER AVAILABILITY TASK FORCE REPORT…THE 2012 WATER YEAR…WHICH ENDED ON SEPTEMBER 30TH…SAW JUST 75 PERCENT OF NORMAL PRECIPITATION STATEWIDE…AND INCLUDED TEN CONSECUTIVE MONTHS OF BELOW AVERAGE PRECIPITATION. THE REPORT ALSO STATED THIS CALENDER YEAR CURRENTLY RANKS AS THE 2ND WARMEST ON RECORD (1895-2012) WITH A STATEWIDE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE OF 51.7 DEGREES.

WITH THIS IN MIND…THE CURRENT US DROUGHT MONITOR HAS EXPANDED EXCEPTIONAL DROUGHT (D4) CONDITIONS TO INCLUDE SOUTHEASTERN PORTIONS OF EL PASO COUNTY. EXCEPTIONAL DROUGHT (D4) CONDITIONS ALSO REMAIN DEPICTED ACROSS EASTERN PUEBLO COUNTY…CROWLEY COUNTY…OTERO COUNTY…KIOWA COUNTY…MOST OF BENT AND PROWERS COUNTIES…AS WELL AS CENTRAL AND NORTHEASTERN PORTIONS OF LAS ANIMAS COUNTY.

EXTREME DROUGHT (D3) CONDITIONS HAVE ALSO EXPANDED TO INCLUDE ALL OF CUSTER AND HUERFANO COUNTIES…MOST OF THE REST OF LAS ANIMAS COUNTY AND EXTREME NORTHEASTERN COSTILLA COUNTY. EXTREME DROUGHT (D3) CONDITIONS REMAIN DEPICTED ACROSS EXTREME SOUTHEAST CHAFFEE COUNTY AND EXTREME NORTHWEST SAGUACHE COUNTY…FREMONT COUNTY…SOUTHWESTERN THROUGH EAST CENTRAL TELLER COUNTY…MOST OF EL PASO COUNTY AND THE REST OF PUEBLO COUNTY. SEVERE DROUGHT (D3) CONDITIONS ARE ALSO INDICATED ACROSS EXTREME SOUTHEASTERN BENT COUNTY…EXTREME SOUTHERN PROWERS COUNTY…AND NORTHERN AND EASTERN PORTIONS OF BACA COUNTY.

SEVERE DROUGHT (2) CONDITIONS HAVE ALSO EXPANDED TO INCLUDE ALL OF LAKE COUNTY. SEVERE DROUGHT (D2) CONDITIONS REMAIN DEPICTED ACROSS THE REST OF CHAFFEE AND SAGUACHE COUNTIES…MINERAL COUNTY…RIO GRANDE COUNTY…CONEJOS COUNTY…ALAMOSA COUNTY…THE REST OF COSTILLA COUNTY…EXTREME SOUTHEASTERN LAS ANIMAS COUNTY…THE REST OF BACA COUNTY…AS WELL AS NORTHERN TELLER COUNTY AND EXTREME NORTHWESTERN EL PASO COUNTY…

SUMMARY OF IMPACTS…

THE PERSISTENT SEVERE TO EXCEPTIONAL DROUGHT CONDITIONS BROUGHT ON BY VERY WARM…DRY AND WINDY WEATHER EXPERIENCED ACROSS THE REGION OVER THE PAST YEAR…HAS IMPACTED SOUTH CENTRAL AND SOUTHEAST COLORADO IN MANY WAYS. THESE IMPACTS INCLUDE INCREASED WILDFIRE ACTIVITY AND DANGER…FAILED AND POOR YIELD ON NON IRRIGATED CROPS…CATTLE LOSS AND ABANDONMENT…AS WELL AS QUESTIONS ON WATER AVAILABILITY AND WATER RIGHTS.

FIRE DANGER IMPACTS…

PERSISTENT DROUGHT CONDITIONS AND CURING FUELS OVER THE PAST FEW MONTHS HAVE CONTINUED TO INCREASE THE FIRE DANGER ACROSS THE REGION. MORE WINDY WEATHER ASSOCIATED WITH THE UPCOMING WINTER SEASON WILL LIKELY KEEP FIRE DANGER MODERATE TO HIGH ACROSS THE AREA…AND COULD LEAD TO MORE LOCAL GOVERNMENTS INSTITUTING FIRE RESTRICTIONS OVER THE NEXT SEVERAL MONTHS…

AGRICULTURAL IMPACTS…

CPC AND VIC SOIL MOISTURE CALCULATIONS CONTINUE TO INDICATE DRIER TO MUCH DRIER THAN NORMAL CONDITIONS ACROSS MOST OF SOUTH CENTRAL AND SOUTHEAST COLORADO…WITH THE WORST CONDITIONS PERSISTING ACROSS SOUTHEAST COLORADO.

THE LAST USDA COLORADO CROP REPORT FOR 2012 ALSO INDICATES THE DRY SOIL CONDITIONS WITH 85 PERCENT OF TOP SOIL MOISTURE ACROSS THE STATE BEING RATED AS SHORT OR VERY SHORT. THIS COMPARES TO 85 PERCENT OF TOP SOIL MOISTURE BEING REPORTED AS SHORT OR VERY SHORT LAST WEEK AND TO ONLY 48 PERCENT AT THIS SAME TIME LAST YEAR.

AS FOR SUBSOIL MOISTURE…93 PERCENT WAS BEING REPORTED AS SHORT OR VERY SHORT ACROSS THE STATE…COMPARED TO 97 PERCENT RATED AS SHORT OR VERY SHORT LAST WEEK…AND TO ONLY 48 PERCENT AT THIS SAME TIME LAST YEAR.

CLIMATE SUMMARY…

AFTER A COOL MONTH OF OCTOBER ACROSS MOST OF SOUTH CENTRAL AND SOUTHEAST COLORADO…THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER RETURNED TO THE COMMON THEME PLAYED OUT THROUGH 2012 THUS FAR…NAMELY MUCH WARMER AND DRIER THAN NORMAL CONDITIONS.

THE AVERAGE MONTHLY TEMPERATURE FOR NOVEMBER IN COLORADO SPRINGS WAS 5.4 DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL…MAKING NOVEMBER OF 2012 THE 5TH WARMEST ON RECORD IN COLORADO SPRINGS. COLORADO SPRINGS RECEIVED ONLY 0.02 INCHES OF PRECIPITATION THROUGH THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER. THIS IS 0.38 INCHES BELOW NORMAL AND MAKES NOVEMBER 2012 TIED AS THE 9TH DRIEST ON RECORD.

THE AVERAGE MONTHLY TEMPERATURE FOR NOVEMBER IN PUEBLO WAS 3.9 DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL…MAKING NOVEMBER OF 2012 TIED AS THE 21ST WARMEST ON RECORD IN PUEBLO. PUEBLO RECEIVED ONLY A TRACE OF PRECIPITATION THROUGH THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER. THIS IS 0.47 INCHES BELOW NORMAL AND MAKES NOVEMBER OF 2012 TIED WITH SEVEN OTHER YEARS AS THE DRIEST ON RECORD IN PUEBLO. THIS ALSO MARKS THE NINTH CONSECUTIVE MONTH OF BELOW NORMAL PRECIPITATION RECEIVED IN PUEBLO.

THE AVERAGE MONTHLY TEMPERATURE IN ALAMOSA WAS 0.9 DEGREES ABOVE NORMAL FOR THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER. ALAMOSA RECEIVED 0.08 INCHES OF PRECIPITATION THROUGH THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER. THIS IS 0.34 INCHES BELOW AVERAGE AND MAKE NOVEMBER OF 2012 TIED AS THE 20TH DRIEST ON RECORD IN ALAMOSA…

HYDROLOGIC SUMMARY…

AT THE END OF NOVEMBER…STREAMFLOW REMAINED BELOW AVERAGE OVERALL ACROSS THE ARKANSAS AND UPPER RIO GRANDE BASINS. OVERALL RESERVOIR STORAGE LEVELS WERE ALSO RUNNING BELOW AVERAGE. AT THE END OF NOVEMBER…COMBINED RESERVOIR STORAGE LEVELS IN THE ARKANSAS BASIN WERE AROUND 75 PERCENT OF AVERAGE…WHILE COMBINED LEVELS IN THE UPPER RIO GRANDE BASIN WERE AROUND 49 PERCENT OF AVERAGE.

THE COLORADO WATER AVAILABILITY TASK FORCE REPORTS THAT MANY OF THE MUNICIPALITIES WHICH HAD IMPLEMENTED BOTH VOLUNTARY AND MANDATORY WATERING RESTRICTIONS EARLIER IN THE YEAR WILL KEEP THEM IN PLACE THROUGHOUT THE WINTER. THE REPORT ALSO STATED COLORADO SPRINGS UTILITIES (CSU) SAW CONSUMPTION INCREASE TO THE HIGHEST LEVELS SINCE 2002 AND CONSEQUENTLY…RESERVOIR LEVELS ARE AT THEIR LOWEST SINCE 2002. OTHER COMMUNITIES ARE CLOSELY WATCHING THE SITUATION AND HAVE SOME CONCERN SHOULD THE DROUGHT CONDITIONS PERSIST FOR ANOTHER YEAR.

PRECIPITATION/TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK…

THE CPC OUTLOOK ACROSS SOUTH CENTRAL AND SOUTHEAST COLORADO FOR THE NEXT TWO WEEKS INCLUDES SLIGHT TILTS TO ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES AND BELOW NORMAL PRECIPITATION. THE OUTLOOK FOR THE REST OF DECEMBER…JANUARY AND FEBRUARY INDICATE BETTER CHANCES FOR ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES WITH AN EQUAL CHANCE OF ABOVE…BELOW AND NEAR NORMAL PRECIPITATION.

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