Agricultural drain replacement project a top priority for the Grand Valley Drainage District

Bicycling the Colorado National Monument, Grand Valley in the distance via Colorado.com
Bicycling the Colorado National Monument, Grand Valley in the distance via Colorado.com

From The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Gary Harmon):

It’s when storms break uphill that the Buthorn Drain becomes overwhelmed and the network of pipes turns from a pastoral conveyance to a pressurized system for which it was never designed.

“I’ve seen that manhole cover blow two feet off the ground,” said Bruce Palmer, who has lived for 51 years near the manhole cover on Walnut Court, through which the running water can be heard. “I’ve stood here in 9-inch engineer-type boots and the water was running over the top of those boots.”

The Buthorn Drain runs beneath the property of 50 or 60 residences, through a mobile-home park, beneath businesses and streets, and below — and through — a park.

It runs below Westlake Park downhill from West Middle School and then flows above and below a hill steep enough that concrete piles, or baffles, have been built in its path to slow floodwaters. Those same waters have dug beneath the baffles, reducing their ability to slow the floods.

The Grand Valley Drainage District made the Buthorn Drain its top priority and is expecting to spend $5 million on repairs and improvements to it, beginning with a close look at the system by Eric Krch of the engineering firm Souder Miller & Associates.

The first step in his study is to make sure that the drain still can handle its main job, then move into the question of whether it could handle a [1% probability flood].

It almost surely will not. Work already done has shown the system to be “severely undersized” for the 922-acre watershed served by the Buthorn Drain.

From there, Krch will draw up one or more solutions he’ll propose to the drainage district…

Businesses, local governments and other property owners, including churches and nonprofits, are charged $3 a month for every 2,500 square feet of impervious surface — those roofs, driveways, parking lots and so on. The district also has a $500 per 2,500 feet of impervious surface fee on new construction.

In all, the charges are expected to generate $2.7 million this year.

The fees, however, have earned the ire of Mesa County and the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce, which have challenged them in Mesa County District Court, contending that they amount to a tax that was imposed without a vote as required by the Colorado Constitution.

A judge, however, has ruled in denying a preliminary injunction that the charges are fees and not subject to the voter-approval requirement of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.

A full hearing on the matter remains to be scheduled — attorneys next week are to set a schedule — even as the district is moving ahead with the Buthorn Drain by hiring Souder Miller & Associates.

County and chamber officials say they don’t question the need for improvements such as those contemplated for the Buthorn Drain, but say they prefer to tackle drainage issues — and there are plenty — on a larger scale, using the 5-2-1 Drainage Authority.

The authority encompasses an area 10 times larger than that of the district. It takes in lands north of the river that are outside the boundaries of the drainage district, as well as land south of the river.

The county also questions the leadership of the drainage district, characterizing the three-member board as self-perpetuating.

The election of Cody Davis to the drainage district board this year was the first contest in decades.

All of those issues are beside the point for Ryan, who contends that the drainage district board is dealing properly with issues inside district boundaries, which happen to include much of the most heavily populated parts of the county, as well as much of its commercial and industrial base.

Dealing with the Buthorn Drain means dealing with “a major public health hazard,” Krch said.

When the drain is overfilled by stormwater, Krch said, “People have suffered significant damages to their possessions, there has been loss of property and I don’t know how many accidents occurred on flooded streets.”

It’s algal bloom time for area surface waters

HarmfulAlgalBloomillustrationseagrantmichigan

From The Colorado Springs Gazette (Rachel Riley):

Steamy temperatures, a lack of shady trees and stagnant, shallow waters make the pond [Duckwood Pond in Fountain Creek Regional Park ] a breeding ground for the green algae, which thrives on warmth and sunlight. Another ingredient for the algae’s success, nitrogen, is added by the resident flock of Canada geese, with each bird producing about a pound of nutrient-rich feces each day…

The photosynthetic, plant-like organisms are found in practically every…body of water, from ponds to reservoirs, and can multiply rapidly under the right conditions to create algae blooms. Luckily, there are no negative effects on the body of water’s aquatic ecosystem – only its aesthetic value, Salamon said.

But it’s often hard to distinguish regular algae with its much less innocuous counterpart: cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae. For reasons scientists haven’t nailed down, cyanobacteria blooms can sometimes produce toxins that threaten nearby flora and fauna.

Of the 150 lakes across the state sampled routinely by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, about 30 have tested positive for blue-green algae, including 10 to 15 that regularly produce blue-green algae blooms, according to the department.

And while officials have not observed any negative consequences for wildlife connected to the presence of cyanobacteria, state agencies are taking precautions.

The department has developed an in-house testing method to determine if the blue-green algae is producing harmful toxins, what the toxins are and how concentrated they are, said Sarah Wheeler, a researcher at the state’s Water Quality Control Division…

According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, areas where cyanobacteria blooms have occurred include Stagecoach State Park, Barr Lake State Park, and Cherry Creek State Park and De Weese Reservoir.

The cyanobacteria blooms most often occur in urban areas and agricultural regions the eastern plains that experience a lot of runoff from fertilizers – the same places that are hotspots for regular algae blooms, Wheeler said.

“Cyanobacteria do really well with high nutrients and lots of sunlight – they form when conditions are right, so when the temperatures are really hot in the summer, the water temperatures increase and you also have high nitrogen,” she said.

Unlike most other contaminants, cyanobacteria and the toxins they produce are not regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency, so it’s up to state officials to decide how to monitor its presence in recreational and drinking water sources. In June 2015, the EPA issued a drinking-water health advisory for two contaminants sometimes produced by cyanobacteria: microcystins and cylindrospermopsin.

Research has associated high levels of drinking water containing the toxins with stomach flu, liver and kidney damage. People swimming in lakes where cyanobacteria was present have reported stomachaches, allergic reactions and skin rashes. For wildlife, long-term exposure may also lead to liver and kidney damage, according to the EPA advisory.

While officials have observed some drinking-water sources that have cyanobacteria blooms, none has tested positively for levels of above-recommended levels of microcystins and cylindrospermopsin specified in the EPA’s health advisory, said David Dani, who oversees coaching and training for the Colorado Safe Drinking Water Program…

In 2014, the agency formed the Algal Toxin Team, consisting of park, district, area and deputy regional managers, as well as public information officers. Last spring, Parks and Wildlife met with environmental epidemiology officials from the health and environment department to determine at what toxin level warning or caution signs should be posted at bodies of water containing cyanobacteria blooms.

The guidelines also help park officials identify the blooms, [Mindi May] said.

One method is the stick test: If you run a stick through the water and strings of the algae cling to the stick, it’s filamentous algae, not cyanobacteria. Another is the bottle test: If you scoop up some of the water and the algae sinks to the bottom of the container, it’s probably regular algae and not cyanobacteria, which would float or remain suspended in the water.

When park officials identify a cyanobacteria bloom, there is often little they can do besides wait for the bloom to subside, which can happen within days, May said.

The July/August 2016 newsletter “Colorado Water” is hot off the presses from the #Colorado Water Institute

covercoloradowater

Click here to read the newsletter. Here’s the Director’s Letter from Reagan Waskom:

Big promises are being made for big data. The tsunami of data resulting from new technologies has created some headaches, but also intriguing opportunities. Satellite images, wireless sensor networks, and model output
all produce data that must be processed and analyzed to create useful and reliable information. Data does not enhance our understanding or management decisions. Rather, it must be transformed into information that is accurate and reliable to become truly useful.

Data acquisition capacity has grown to the extent that a new branch of information sciences has emerged, known as big data. Big data has been called a “fad” in scienti c research, but it is more accurate to call it a “hot topic”, as we know the cascade of data from expanding new technologies will only continue. Numerous scienti c conferences and papers on the topic of big data have occurred since the Obama Administration launched the Big Data Research and Development Initiative in 2012 to “greatly improve tools and techniques needed to access, organize, and glean discoveries from huge volumes of digital data.”

Big data has been described as high volume, high velocity, and/or high variety information in excess of one terabyte that is too large for a single machine to handle and that traditional techniques are insuf cient to analyze. This de nition is fluid and may soon be described in petabytes, but it also includes the velocity at which the data is acquired from multiple independent data sources. Thus, cloud-linked servers are typically needed to adequately store and process the data. Real-time acquisition and processing that enables trend detection and improved decision-making is the goal of businesses and government agencies seeking to exploit big data. In other cases, the goal may be to enable public access to useful, interesting, or important information.

A number of questions must be resolved as we develop new data technologies and capacity. For example, who owns big data when it is crowd-sourced or provided by multiple public and private entities? How does the information remain secure and individual privacy protected? From a scienti c perspective, what about data quality and veracity? How do we avoid sampling bias and misinterpretation? Again, data itself is not the goal, but the information gleaned from the data can enhance our understanding of trends, processes, demographics, etc.

Water data collected from multiple public water systems (such as used in past Statewide Water Supply Investigations conducted by the CWCB) is an example of using big data to determine statistical patterns that suggest significant correlations and trends in water use and conservation, forecasting future demands, and to optimize coordination of resources. Water managers with multiple sources of water supply could also bene t from better data- driven forecasting and real-time operations. Sensor technologies have arrived on the market to help water utilities survey underground pipes and detect leaks. Smart meters could help managers and individual users ne-tune their system. In terms of academic research, both the NSF funded NEON and CUASHI networks described in this newsletter have been organized to provide big and open data to researchers. NEON represents the largest single investment in ecological research data ever made. This “research infrastructure” is transforming our ability to advance data visualization and statistical methods to understand patterns, processes, and detect outliers.

The value of big data is the opportunity to answer big questions. What is also exciting about big and open data is the potential for innovations that can improve our decision- making capacity. This issue of the Colorado Water newsletter provides examples of how big data for water can be accessed and used. The data tsunami keeps coming at us—the power of that data to help solve big water challenges is ours to capture.

@OmahaUSACE: Update for pending Northern Integrated Supply Project Final EIS

Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP) map July 27, 2016 via Northern Water.
Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP) map July 27, 2016 via Northern Water.

Click here to go to the project page. Here’s the release:

The Omaha District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will accept public comments on the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP) Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which is due to be released in 2017.

A formal comment period for the Final EIS provides the public an opportunity to review and provide comment about additional water quality analyses that have been taking place since the Supplemental Draft EIS was released in June 2015. The Final EIS will include updated environmental studies as well as refinements to Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District’s proposed action.

All public input received during the comment period for the Final EIS will be reviewed and addressed in the Record of Decision, which completes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permitting process.

August 2016 ENSO update: Wavy gravy — NOAA

From Climate.gov (Emily Becker):

It’s August already, El Niño is long gone, and we’re still stuck in neutral. Is La Niña on the way? And is anything interesting going on in the tropical Pacific?

Currently, forecasters think there’s a slightly better than 50% chance of La Niña developing in August–October and then a 55-60% chance during the winter. Right now, it looks like if La Niña does manage to form and last the five consecutive, overlapping seasons necessary to qualify as an ENSO event, it’s likely to be a weak one.

Let’s start by checking in with current conditions. During July, sea surface temperature in the Nino3.4 region of the tropical Pacific was -0.21°C (-0.38°F) below average, according to ERSSTv4, the dataset we use for all our forecast verification. You may have also seen the monthly value for July from the OISST dataset, which was -0.49°C below average. Which one’s right?

Check out Tom’s post for details, but in short, these two datasets have different geographic detail: ERSSTv4 is lower resolution, while OISST has a finer grid with more spatial detail. Since the current area of colder-than-average water is a narrow strip along the Equator, the average over the Niño3.4 region can be different depending on the dataset.

Sea surface temperature in July 2016 compared to the 1981-2010 average. Cooler-than-average waters are present in the central tropical Pacific. NOAA Climate.gov map, based on GEO-Polar data.
Sea surface temperature in July 2016 compared to the 1981-2010 average. Cooler-than-average waters are present in the central tropical Pacific. NOAA Climate.gov map, based on GEO-Polar data.

I realize I haven’t answered the question “which one is right?” That’s because they both are–they’re just different. We use the ERSSTv4 for all our long-term monitoring, because it has been carefully quality-controlled and extends back to 1950. OISST is used as the starting point for a lot of climate models, because it has daily data available, and has that higher resolution. The finer detail in the OISST also allows it to pick up on smaller-scale changes like the current cool Niño3.4 index.

Situation Neutral
July’s tropical atmosphere mostly looked like neutral conditions, too, with nearly average winds across the tropical Pacific region. There have been some hints of more rain than average over Indonesia, and less over the central Pacific, as well as a slightly positive trend in the Southern Oscillation Index and Equatorial Southern Oscillation Index. These might be early hints of a La Niña pattern… or might just be short-term changes. So we’re playing a waiting game right now.

Like we did with El Niño, we have to see a certain set of conditions before we can declare the onset of La Niña. First, the monthly Niño3.4 index needs to drop to or below -0.5°C. It’s close, but not there yet. After that, we need to see forecasts that it will stay below that threshold for five overlapping three-month periods (“seasons”). Finally, we need to see the right response from the atmosphere: a strengthened Walker circulation, meaning stronger surface easterly and upper-level westerly winds over the equatorial Pacific Ocean, lower-than-average pressure and more rainfall over Indonesia, less rainfall over the central Pacific, and higher-than-average pressure in the vicinity of the eastern Pacific.

Flowchart showing decision process for determining La Niña conditions. Figure by Fiona Martin, adapted by Climate.gov.
Flowchart showing decision process for determining La Niña conditions. Figure by Fiona Martin, adapted by Climate.gov.

What did one ocean say to the other? Nothing, it just waved.
If you look at the map of one-week average sea surface temperature, you may have noticed an interesting feature along the eastern and central equatorial Pacific: a series of waves along the edge of the “cold tongue”. The cold tongue (that term always gives me the heebie-jeebies) is a narrow strip of cooler water right along the Equator that’s present during neutral and La Niña conditions, and is strongest between July and November. It comes from deep ocean water that rises up near the South American coast, and is then spread westward by surface currents. El Niño’s warming reduces the cold tongue.

Sea surface temperature on July 23, 2016. The eastern Pacific cold tongue is clearly visible along the Equator, surrounded by warmer waters to the north and south. The wavy features along the northern and southern borders between the cold tongue and the warmer waters are tropical instability waves. The waves on the north side are clearer in part due to the stronger temperature gradient on that side of the cold tongue. Map by NOAA Climate.gov from CDR data.
Sea surface temperature on July 23, 2016. The eastern Pacific cold tongue is clearly visible along the Equator, surrounded by warmer waters to the north and south. The wavy features along the northern and southern borders between the cold tongue and the warmer waters are tropical instability waves. The waves on the north side are clearer in part due to the stronger temperature gradient on that side of the cold tongue. Map by NOAA Climate.gov from CDR data.

The waves near the cold tongue are called tropical instability waves, and they were first noticed in 1977, at the beginning of the satellite era (1). They’re occasionally called Legeckis waves, after the scientist who first observed them. They emerge and move west over a few weeks, so they tend to get washed out in a monthly or seasonal average temperature anomaly map.

Tropical instability waves are partly a result of the difference in temperature between the cold tongue and the waters just north and south of the Equator. The interface between the colder and warmer water is called a front, just like the cold and warm fronts we see in the atmosphere. Whenever you have sharp differences in temperature, nature wants to mix it up to even things out, creating the conditions for waves to form. During La Niña, the cold tongue is cooler than average, and the fronts are intensified, usually leading to stronger tropical instability waves.

Tropical instability waves aren’t just an end result, though: they mix warmer water in to the cold tongue and interact with the atmosphere, affecting winds and surface pressure. ENSO influences the development of the waves (by affecting the north-south temperature gradient between the cold tongue and the off-equatorial water), and the waves and their atmospheric interaction can influence the characteristics of ENSO. Some researchers have found that, since tropical instability waves are prominent during La Niña, the effect of mixing the warmer waters in to the cold tongue can reduce the amplitude of La Niña (2).

A lot of research has been done to understand these waves and their interaction with ENSO, and there is some evidence that including them in the observations used as starting points for climate models can result in improved forecasts (3, 4). However, they’re just one feature of an immensely complicated system. For now, we’re back in borderline territory, and still in a La Niña Watch. We’ll continue keeping a close eye on both the tropical Pacific and computer model forecasts, and keep you posted on changes.

Many thanks to my colleagues Caihong Wen (Climate Prediction Center) and Jim Carton (University of Maryland, College Park) for their assistance with this post.

References
(1) Willett, C.S., R.R. Leben, and M.F. Lavin, 2006: Eddies and Tropical Instability Waves in the eastern tropical Pacific: A review, Progr. Oceanogr., 69, 218-238.

(2) Im, S.-H., S.-I. An, S. T. Kim, and F.-F. Jin (2015), Feedback processes responsible for El Niño-La Niña amplitude asymmetry, Geophys. Res. Lett., 42, 5556–5563, doi:10.1002/2015GL064853.

(3) Caihong Wen, Yan Xue, and Arun Kumar, 2012: Ocean–Atmosphere Characteristics of Tropical Instability Waves Simulated in the NCEP Climate Forecast System Reanalysis. J. Climate 25, 6409–6425, doi: 10.1175/JCLI-D-11-00477.1.

(4) Ham, Y. & Kang, I., 2011: Improvement of seasonal forecasts with inclusion of tropical instability waves on initial conditions. Clim Dyn 36: 1277. doi:10.1007/s00382-010-0743-0

@CWCB_DNR: August 2016 #Drought Update

Colorado Drought Monitor August 16, 2016.
Colorado Drought Monitor August 16, 2016.

Click here to read the update from the Colorado Water Conservation Board (Taryn Finnessey/Tracy Kosloff):

July 2016, was the second month in a row during which the state experienced well below average precipitation. Statewide mountain precipitation was only 59 percent of average, the driest July since 2008. Temperatures were also above average. August to-date has brought near average precipitation and slightly cooler temperatures statewide. However, the Front Range corridor remains dry and warm. The forecast for the next week shows cooler temperatures and better chances for precipitation.

  • Statewide water year-to-date mountain precipitation as reported from NRCS is at 97 percent of normal as of August 16th.
  •  Reservoir storage statewide is 109 percent of normal. The Arkansas and the South Platte basins have the highest storage levels in the state at 115 percent of average; the Upper Rio Grande has the lowest storage levels at 89 percent. All other basins are above normal at 106 to 109 percent of average.
  • Front Range water providers all reported storage levels ranging from 83 to 124 percent of average, however continued warm and dry conditions have resulted in increased demands 10-20 percent greater than last year.
  • The Statewide Water Supply Index (SWSI) indicates that conditions are drier this month than last; however the majority of the state remains near average.
  • Agricultural producers are seeing high yields for both wheat and corn, and orchards are reporting good conditions as well.
  • #Drought news: I-25 corridor (D1), short-term dryness putting a strain on unirrigated vegetation, some tree leaves becoming crispy

    Click here to go to the US Drought Monitor website. Here’s an excerpt:

    Summary

    A series of slow-moving or stationary cold fronts plus a westward wandering upper-air low along the Gulf Coast produced widespread moderate to heavy (more than 2 inches) rains in portions of the north-central Plains and upper Midwest, much of the Corn Belt, southern Great Plains, Ohio and lower Mississippi Valley, along the Gulf Coast, and the Northeast. Record flooding occurred in Louisiana where up to 2 feet of rain inundated the southern half of the state, requiring thousands of water rescues and drowning several people. Weekly amounts exceeding 8 inches also fell on southeastern Missouri, southern Illinois, north-central Indiana, and southwestern Lower Michigan. The southwest monsoon was also active, especially in New Mexico and southeastern Arizona where 1-2 inches of rain fell on several locations. Oppressive heat and humidity enveloped the northeastern quarter of the Nation, with weekly temperatures averaging more than 6 deg F above normal. Highs in the nineties were common, with some locations nearing triple-digits, but when combined with dew points in the seventies, apparent temperatures were unbearable to dangerous. In contrast, near to subnormal readings occurred across most of the western half of the U.S. and along the Gulf Coast. Most of Puerto Rico, Alaska, and Hawaii measured light to moderate rainfall, but not enough fell on the drought areas for any improvement…

    Southern Plains

    Abundant moisture from the southwest monsoon and the upper-air low interacted with a stationary cold front over the southern Plains, triggering numerous scattered showers and thunderstorms across southern and eastern sections of Texas and extreme southeastern Oklahoma. The rains, however, mostly missed the Texas Panhandle and the remainder of Oklahoma. With the scattered nature of the storms, totals varied widely, resulting in a spotted look to the remaining drought areas, although most changes were 1-category improvements (using 2-3 month tools). In contrast, subnormal rainfall resulted in some small degradation in the Texas Panhandle, extreme southern Texas, and in southern and northeastern Oklahoma. Field reports out of central and eastern Wagoner County (northeast OK) indicated worsening agricultural impacts due to less rainfall than surrounding counties, resulting in a D1 expansion and new D2 area…

    North-Central Plains and western Corn Belt

    A slow-moving cold front triggered widespread showers and thunderstorms across the north-central Plains, upper Midwest, and western Corn Belt. More than 2 inches of rain fell on most of the eastern Dakotas, central Minnesota, west-central Wisconsin, and southwestern and central Iowa, with locally up to 8 inches in parts of south-central Minnesota. This was the fourth out of the past 6 weeks with wet weather in Iowa. Accordingly, several 1-category improvements were made as the recent rains have eased or eliminated short-term dryness and drought. This included a good portion of South Dakota (D3 to D2 and D2 to D1 in the west; D1 to D0 in central sections; and D0 to nothing in northeastern and southeastern sections), northwestern Nebraska (D1 to D0 and D0 to nothing), Iowa (shrank D1 in the south, removed lots of D0), and northern Missouri (shrank D1 and D0). Most crop and pasture/range conditions were rated favorably with the exception of South Dakota. According to NASS/USDA, 25% of the SD pastures were rated poor to very poor, a reflection of drier conditions in the west…

    The Northwest and northern Rockies

    With July and August normally the two driest months of the year, not too many changes are typically expected during the late summer in the Pacific Northwest. This was the case this week as little or no precipitation occurred, and temperatures averaged slightly above normal. Farther east, unsettled weather (cool and showery) was observed in the northern Rockies and northern Montana, which was enough to prevent any deterioration but not enough for improvement. Except for the impact lines redrawn for better clarity of the impact types, no other changes were made…

    California and western Great Basin

    Since this is the normally dry and warm time of the year when no real changes are expected to occur, and since both temperature and precipitation was near normal this week, there were no changes made on the map…

    The Southwest (4-Corner States)

    Since the onset of the southwest monsoon in late July, scattered showers continued this week, with the greatest totals (1-3 inches) occurring in southeastern Arizona, southern and northeastern New Mexico, and southwestern Texas. With this week’s totals adding onto accumulated surpluses out to 3-, 6-, and even 12-months, some small improvements were made in southeastern Arizona (D2 to D1), southwestern Texas and southern New Mexico (D1 to D0), and D0 to nothing in southwestern and northeastern New Mexico and southwestern Texas (near El Paso). Enough rain has fallen over other areas since mid-July to keep conditions status-quo. An exception was in south-central Colorado where D0 was added as seasonal precipitation expectations have been below normal. In northern Colorado, a small area of D1 was added as short-term dryness was putting a strain on unirrigated vegetation, with some tree leaves becoming crispy. The impact lines were redrawn to reflect recent short-term wetness (SL changed to L in southern Arizona), and a SL buffer in eastern New Mexico (between the L to the west and S to the east)…

    Looking Ahead

    During the next 5 days (August 18-22), the Far West should stay seasonably dry. Meanwhile, the heaviest rains (1-4 inches) should fall on the southern Great Plains and upper Delta (TX-OK-AR), from southern Montana and northern Wyoming eastward to northern sections of Wisconsin and Michigan, on the southern Appalachians, and along the Carolinas coast. 5-day temperatures will be above-normal in the Far West and the Atlantic Coast States while subnormal readings are expected in the middle third of the Nation.

    During August 23-27, the odds favor above-median precipitation in the southern three-quarters of the Plains and most of Alaska, while sub-median rainfall is favored in Arizona, Pacific Northwest, and mid-Atlantic southward to the central Gulf Coast. Subnormal temperatures are likely in the southern two-thirds of the Rockies and Plains, the Tennessee and lower Ohio Valleys, and central Appalachians, while above-normal readings are favored in southern Alaska, the Pacific Northwest, and along the East Coast.

    From The Loveland Reporter-Herald:

    Federal officials said this week that Loveland is in the middle of a moderate drought this summer.

    In the U.S. Drought Monitor operated by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, a narrow swath along Interstate 25 between Denver and the Wyoming border is considered to be in level D1 of drought. Last week’s report indicated the area was “abnormally dry,” and little precipitation has been reported in that time. The only other area of the state considered as dry was the Four Corners area, according to the report.

    By comparison, Southern California is in a prolonged level D4 drought, the highest level on the scale.

    According to the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow network spotters in Loveland, the city has seen less than half an inch of precipitation since the beginning of August, and only an inch of precipitation in July.

    National Weather Service forecasters said Thursday that the weekend will bring only a moderate chance of showers. Friday will have the strongest chance for showers in the city, at 40 percent, with the chance of precipitation decreasing into the weekend.

    The long-range forecast shows another slight chance of thunderstorms by the middle of next week, according to the agency.

    Meanwhile here’s the latest US seasonal drought outlook from the Climate Prediction Center:

    US Seasonal Drought Outlook August 18 through November 30, 2016 via the Climate Predication Center.
    US Seasonal Drought Outlook August 18 through November 30, 2016 via the Climate Predication Center.