Drought deepens across southeast Colorado #codrought

February 14, 2013

usdroughtmonitor02122013.jpg

Click on the thumbnail graphic for the current U.S. Drought Monitor map.

From the National Weather Service Pueblo office:

…DROUGHT DEEPENS ACROSS SOUTHEAST COLORADO WITH SOME IMPROVEMENTS IN SOUTHWEST COLORADO…

SYNOPSIS…

JANUARY OF 2013 WAS A RELATIVELY COLD AND DRY MONTH ACROSS THE STATE…SAVE FOR PORTIONS OF SOUTHWESTERN COLORADO…WHICH SAW ABOVE NORMAL PRECIPITATION…THANKS IN PART TO TWO STORM SYSTEMS WHICH BROUGHT ONE TO THREE INCHES OF SNOW WATER EQUIVALENT TO PORTIONS OF THE CONTINENTAL DIVIDE AT THE END OF THE MONTH.

WITH THIS IN MIND…THE CURRENT US DROUGHT MONITOR HAS EXPANDED EXCEPTIONAL DROUGHT (D4) CONDITIONS TO INCLUDE SOUTHERN EL PASO COUNTY…MOST OF PUEBLO COUNTY AS WELL AS EXTREME EASTERN HUERFANO COUNTY. THE CURRENT DROUGHT MONITOR ALSO INDICATES SOME IMPROVEMENT IN THE DROUGHT ACROSS PORTIONS OF SOUTHWESTERN COLORADO…WITH MODERATE DROUGHT (D1) CONDITIONS NOW BEING DEPICTED ACROSS SOUTHERN AND CENTRAL PORTIONS OF MINERAL COUNTY.

EXCEPTIONAL DROUGHT (D4) CONDITIONS CONTINUE TO BE DEPICTED ACROSS 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 REMAIN ACROSS EXTREME NORTHERN LAKE COUNTY…EXTREME SOUTHEASTERN CHAFFEE COUNTY…EXTREME NORTHWESTERN SAGUACHE COUNTY AS WELL AS FREMONT COUNTY…SOUTHWESTERN THROUGH EAST CENTRAL TELLER COUNTY…MOST OF THE REST OF EL PASO COUNTY AND SOUTHWESTERN PUEBLO COUNTY. EXTREME DROUGHT (D3) CONDITIONS ARE ALSO INDICATED ACROSS CUSTER COUNTY…THE REST OF HUERFANO COUNTY…MOST OF THE REST OF LAS ANIMAS COUNTY…EXTREME NORTHEASTERN COSTILLA COUNTY…EXTREME SOUTHEASTERN BENT COUNTY…EXTREME SOUTHERN PROWERS COUNTY…AND NORTHERN AND EASTERN PORTIONS OF BACA COUNTY.

SEVERE DROUGHT (2) CONDITIONS CONTINUE TO BE INDICATED ACROSS THE REST OF LAKE…CHAFFEE AND SAGUACHE COUNTIES…NORTHERN MINERAL COUNTY…RIO GRANDE COUNTY…CONEJOS COUNTY…ALAMOSA COUNTY…THE REST OF COSTILLA COUNTY…NORTHERN TELLER COUNTY AND EXTREME NORTHWESTERN EL PASO COUNTY…EXTREME SOUTHEASTERN LAS ANIMAS COUNTY AND THE REST OF BACA COUNTY.

MORE INFORMATION ON THE US DROUGHT MONITOR CLASSIFICATION SCHEME CAN BE FOUND AT: WWW.DROUGHTMONITOR.UNL.EDU/CLASSIFY.HTM

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 TWO YEARS…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.

THE LATEST COLORADO WATER AVAILABILITY TASK FORCE REPORT INDICATES MANY MUNICIPALITIES AND WATER PROVIDERS ARE CLOSELY WATCHING THE SITUATION AND ARE PREPARING TO RESPOND SHOULD THE DROUGHT CONDITIONS PERSIST OR WORSEN THROUGHOUT THE SPRING AND SUMMER.

FIRE DANGER IMPACTS…

PERSISTENT DROUGHT CONDITIONS…CURED FUELS AND LACK OF SNOW COVER HAS LED TO INCREASED FIRE DANGER ACROSS THE REGION. A CONTINUED LACK OF MOISTURE 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.

THE LATEST INFORMATION ON FIRE BANS AND RESTRICTIONS CAN BE FOUND AT:

WWW.COEMERGENCY.COM/P/FIRE-BANS-DANGER.HTML

AGRICULTURAL IMPACTS…

THE LATEST CPC AND VIC SOIL MOISTURE CALCULATIONS ARE SHOWING SOME IMPROVEMENT IN SOIL MOISTURE CONDITIONS ACROSS SOUTHWESTERN COLORADO AND INTO THE SAN LUIS VALLEY…THOUGH CONTINUE TO INDICATE DRIER TO MUCH DRIER THAN NORMAL CONDITIONS ACROSS MOST OF SOUTH CENTRAL AND SOUTHEAST COLORADO. THE LARGEST DEFICITS IN SOIL MOISTURE REMAIN DEPICTED ACROSS THE LOWER SLOPES OF THE EASTERN MOUNTAINS THROUGH THE SOUTHEAST PLAINS.

CLIMATE SUMMARY…

ALAMOSA HAD A VERY COLD START TO JANUARY…WITH THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE THROUGH THE 18TH OF THE MONTH COMING IN AT AN AMAZING 18 DEGREES BELOW NORMAL. ALAMOSA WAS FINALLY ABLE TO BREAK STUBBORN INVERSIONS AND WARMED UP THROUGH THE LAST WEEK OF THE MONTH…WITH THE AVERAGE TEMPERATURE FOR THE MONTH AS A WHOLE COMING IN AT 11.7 DEGREES BELOW NORMAL. THIS STILL MAKES JANUARY OF 2013 THE 5TH COLDEST ON RECORD IN ALAMOSA. ALAMOSA RECEIVED 0.07 INCHES OF PRECIPITATION AND 1 INCH OF SNOW THROUGH JANUARY…WHICH IS 0.19 INCHES AND 3 INCHES BELOW THE MONTHLY AVERAGE…RESPECTIVELY.

THE AVERAGE JANUARY TEMPERATURE IN COLORADO SPRINGS WAS 0.2 DEGREES BELOW NORMAL. COLORADO SPRINGS RECEIVED 0.18 INCHES OF PRECIPITATION AND 3.2 INCHES OF SNOW THROUGH JANUARY…WHICH IS IS 0.14 INCHES AND 2.4 INCHES BELOW THE MONTHLY AVERAGE…RESPECTIVELY.

THE AVERAGE JANUARY TEMPERATURE IN PUEBLO WAS 1.1 DEGREES BELOW NORMAL. PUEBLO RECEIVED 0.21 INCHES OF PRECIPITATION AND 3.8 INCHES OF SNOW THROUGH JANUARY…WHICH IS 0.14 INCHES AND 2.7 INCHES BELOW THE MONTHLY AVERAGE…RESPECTIVELY.


Adams State University: The next meeting of the Rio Grande Compact Commission is March 21

February 14, 2013

alamosarailroaddepot1912.jpg

Click here for the notice. Thanks to Matt Hardesty for sending it along attached to email.

More Rio Grande River Basin coverage here.


Snowpack news: Statewide snowpack = 75% of avg, Upper Colorado = 69% #codrought #coriver

February 14, 2013

snowpackcolorado02132013.jpg

From The Denver Post (Joey Bunch):

Colorado’s snowpack continues to improve with recent storms. Statewide the snowpack was 75 percent, and as high as 90 percent in southwest Colorado and 76 percent in northwest Colorado. The Colorado River basin was at 69 percent of average Wednesday, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Lakewood.
Snowpack percentages bottomed out in the 40s for some river basins in December.


Forecast news: Snow likely for Denver area (60% chance — NWS Boulder) #codrought #cowx

February 14, 2013

From The Denver Post (Joey Bunch):

The city has a 50 percent chance of snow Thursday and 40 percent Thursday night, but forecasters expect less than an inch during the day and perhaps a half an inch after nightfall, according to the National Weather Service…

Snow is expected to continue over Colorado’s northern mountains through at least Friday, with from 6 to 12 inches at some locations. Widespread snow is expected to return Sunday night, with a couple more rounds Monday and next Wednesday, according to the N ational Weather Service in Grand Junction.


Food-water study to explain how much water is consumed by cities through food consumption

February 14, 2013

longspeak.jpg

From The Greeley Tribune (Eric Brown):

Colorado’s top agriculture official and others expressed support Wednesday for a study that explains how much water is consumed by cities through food consumption. Colorado Agriculture Commissioner John Salazar and representatives of the Colorado Farm Bureau and other groups said during a Colorado Ag Water Alliance meeting that those numbers would help educate urban populations on the importance of the state’s ag industry. They said increasing awareness and improving communication between agriculture and metro areas is critical to finding ways to prevent more of Colorado’s irrigated farms from drying up.

State numbers show municipalities and non­ag industries use only about 7 percent of Colorado’s water.
However, Chris Kraft, a Morgan County dairyman who serves as a director for the Western Dairy Association, said those numbers don’t factor in the food eaten by municipal residents. The water used to grow that food for urbanites, Kraft pointed out, is attributed to the agriculture industry, which, according to the state, uses about 85 percent of Colorado’s water. Kraft and others expressed frustration that agriculture often takes heat for using so much more water than municipalities, even though water use in ag later benefits urban populations. To explain the dependency Colorado’s cities have on local farms, Kraft referred to statistics that show 98 percent of all milk consumed in the state is produced only about 50 miles away from the consumer.

In addition to talks of the potential food-­water study, the day also featured discussions how cities and the ag industry can lease and share water with one another in the future to maximize use of the resource. Some attendees agreed that agriculture can find ways to use water more efficiently, but also said urban areas share the responsibility in keeping needed water on farms.

For years, Front Range cities have bought agricultural water to keep up with growth. Buying ag water is less expensive and easier than building new water projects.

In the past, when farming wasn’t profitable, selling water rights to cities gave farmers needed income. But now, water experts worry that too much agricultural water could be bought up by cities, and food production eventually might not keep up with population growth. Instead of buying agricultural water to meet their needs, growing cities should grow more responsibly, Salazar said.

Salazar and John Stulp, Gov. John Hickenlooper’s policy adviser on water, said during the meeting that if cities grow vertically instead of expanding outward, water savings can amount to as much as 50 to 75 percent. Having a study that shows how much ag water returns to cities in the form of food might convince urbanites to take such growth measures.

Before the meeting’s end, Stulp gave tips to Colorado Ag Water Alliance members on ways of acquiring funds for the study.


Green Mountain Reservoir operations update: 130 cfs in the Blue River below the dam #coriver

February 14, 2013

greenmountainreservoir.jpg

From email from Reclamation (Kara Lamb):

Today, February 13, we are decreasing the amount of water being released from Green Mountain Dam to the Lower Blue River. We are dropping from 170 cfs to about 130 cfs over two changes. The first reduction was at 3 p.m., dropping the flows in the Lower Blue from 170 to 150 cfs. The second change will be at 5 p.m., dropping the release from 150 to 130 cfs. The reason for the change is to balance releases from the dam with inflow to the reservoir. Inflows to Green Mountain dropped today when Denver Water decreased the release to the Blue River from Dillon Dam. The 130 cfs release and flow in the Lower Blue will continue for a while. I will let you know when there are more changes.

More Blue River Watershed coverage here.


Colorado Springs: NOAA to receive 2013 Space Achievement Award April 8

February 14, 2013

aqariussatelliteartistconceptionjplaugust2011.jpg

Here’s the release from the Space Foundation:

The Space Foundation will present its 2013 Space Achievement Award to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for its use of space-based systems in making life-saving predictions and issuing early warnings of calamitous weather conditions.

“While most people recognize the value of weather predictions, many don’t realize how NOAA and the National Weather Service use space assets to determine the severity and risks of approaching weather events,” said Space Foundation Chief Executive Officer Elliot Pulham. “The 2013 Space Achievement Award recognizes NOAA and the National Weather Service for valuable space-assisted forecasts and warnings that saved lives and allowed the protection of property throughout the year, particularly with activities in advance of Hurricane Sandy on the east coast of the United States.”

The award will be presented during the opening ceremony of the 29th National Space Symposium on April 8 at The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colo.

About NOAA
In 2011, the United States experienced 14 weather disasters costing $1 billion or more, more than occurred in any other year on record. Weather affects the decisions made by individuals, companies and governments on a regular basis. Accurate forecasting can help individuals save time and companies save money, and severe weather warnings save lives. The quality of U.S. weather forecasting relies heavily on satellites.

NOAA uses two types of weather satellites: geosynchronous and polar orbiting, historically referred to as the Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite (POES) and Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) systems.

Using space assets to predict major storms has dramatically reduced deaths from hurricanes, tornadoes and major storms at sea. For example, the Galveston, Texas, hurricane of 1900 killed more than 12,000 people, while early warning and evacuations kept the death toll from Hurricane Sandy to fewer than 300.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment, ranging from ocean depths to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage coastal and marine resources. NOAA’s origins date to 1807, when the nation’s first scientific agency, the Survey of the Coast, was established. Today, NOAA maintains a presence in every state and has emerged as an international leader on scientific and environmental matters.

Learn more about NOAA by visiting www.noaa.gov.

About the Award
The Space Foundation annually presents the Space Achievement Award to an individual or organization for significant contributions in advancing the exploration, development or utilization of space.

Previous recipients include: the Hubble Space Telescope Repair Mission team; China’s Shenzhou 7 Manned Space Flight Team; the United States Air Force; Bigelow Aerospace; the U.S. Titan Launch Vehicle Team; the Inertial Upper Stage Team; the SpaceShipOne Team; the Ariane 4 Launch Team; the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle Teams; the NASA/Industry Galileo Space Probe Team; the men and women of United States Space Command and its component organizations; the Hubble Space Telescope Team; Sea Launch; NASA-Boeing International Space Station Team; Gen. Thomas S. Moorman, Jr., USAF, Ret.; Capt. James A Lovell, Jr., USN, Ret.; the American Astronautical Society; Air University; SpaceX and Télécoms Sans Frontières; and in 2012 Junichiro Kawaguchi, Ph.D., Senior Fellow at Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) .

Space Symposium Registration
Recognized as the premier gathering of the global space community, the Space Symposium is slated for April 8-11 at The Broadmoor Hotel, and features presentations and panels covering all aspects of space.

The Space Symposium is offered in conjunction with a separate Space Foundation event, Cyber 1.3, to be held during the day on April 8, immediately preceding the Space Symposium’s opening ceremony.

Register in advance for both events at http://www.NationalSpaceSymposium.org/register. The secure online registration page includes a live chat tab for customer service questions.

Thanks to The Pueblo Chieftain for the heads up.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,046 other followers

%d bloggers like this: