Drought Information Statement
Issued by NWS Denver/Boulder, CO

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093-095-115-117-121-123-310000-

Drought Information Statement
National Weather Service Denver/Boulder CO
347 PM MDT Thu Mar 23 2017

...Severe Drought Continues to Expand Along the Front Range Urban
Corridor...

Synopsis...
It has continued to be dry...warm and windy through the third week
of March. February is typically a dry month. March is normally
wetter so moisture deficits are growing faster. "Concerns are
increasing as the region transitions from dry conditions during a
normally dry time to dry conditions when springtime moisture should
be ramping up."

"Around the lower elevation plains...warm conditions have resulted in
some early greenup and vegetation coming out of dormancy early. One
of the bigger concerns is that any early vegetative growth can be
damaged by spring freezes. The wind has contributed to high
evaporative demand and blowing dust...putting further stress on
crops and soils" as stated in the Colorado NIDIS Weekly Drought
Summary.

Local Areas Affected...
Severe Drought /D2/ was expanded to connect the two localized Severe
Drought areas along the Front Range Urban Corridor on the March 21st
U.S. Drought Monitor. Moderate Drought /D1/ continued elsewhere
except for Abnormally Dry /D0/ conditions on the north central
plains and the high country immediately east of the Continental
Divide. There were no drought designations west of the divide.

Hydrologic Summary...
From the Colorado NIDIS Weekly Drought Summary "While the higher
elevations have overall fared better through most of the
winter...snowpack this week has shown signs of beginning the
snowmelt season. While above peak snowpack is good news...early
melting might not be good news. Early melt could mean less overall
water supply being saved...more evaporative loss to the
atmosphere...and less replenishment to the soils. It`s too early to
tell...but conditions are being closely monitored. For now...melting
has just started and streamflows have quickly responded...with 13%
of gages in the Upper Colorado River Basin reporting record high
flows for this time of year."

On February 1st the mountain snowpack was around 155 percent of
normal. By March 23rd the snowpack only ranged from 103 percent of
normal in the South Platte Basin to 112 percent of normal in the
upper Colorado River Basin.

Reservoir storage compared to average and capacity as of March 1st
2017:
                         Current Storage as a Percent of
Reservoir                  Average             Capacity
---------                  -------             --------
Antero Reservoir             98                   75
Boyd Lake                    98                   57
Carter Lake                  99                   79
Cheesman Lake               114                   91
Dillon Reservoir            100                   86
Elevenmile Canyon Rsvr      104                  101
Empire Reservoir            115                   81
Green Mountain Rsvr          86                   40
Horsetooth Reservoir        117                   82
Lake Granby                 115                   70
Prewitt Reservoir           128                   80
Riverside Reservoir         116                   90
Shadow Mountain Rsvr        100                   94
Spinney Mountain Rsvr       103                   59
Standley Reservoir           87                   74
Williams Fork Rsvr          117                   75
Willow Creek Rsvr            99                   78
Wolford Mountain Rsvr       117                   77

Climate Summary...
Temperatures from February 1st through March 22nd have been 1 to 10
degrees above normal. Precipitation continued to fall farther below
normal. Preliminary NWS Cooperative Observer precipitation totals
from February 1st through March 22nd are listed below:

Location            Elev     2017   Normal  Departure  % Normal
--------            ----     ----   ------  ---------  --------
Above 8000 feet
 Dillon 1E          9065     0.99     1.61     -0.62       61
 Georgetown         8520     0.72     1.93     -1.21       37
 Georgetown 4SW    10020     1.22     2.19     -0.97       56
 Grant              8675     0.45     1.42     -0.97       32
 Walden             8056     0.70     1.17     -0.47       60
 Winter Park        9108     2.88     3.89     -1.01       74

6000 to 8000 feet
 Cheesman Reservoir 6880     0.22     1.54     -1.32       14
 Conifer 6NE        7180     0.50     2.53     -2.03       20
 Evergreen          6985     0.37     2.00     -1.63       19
 Glendevey 11NNW    7760     0.69     1.74     -1.05       40
 Virginia Dale 7ENE 7015     0.80     1.29     -0.49       62
 Williams Fork Rsvr 7618     1.15     1.54     -0.39       75

Front Range Urban Corridor
 Boulder            6484     0.73     2.28     -1.55       32
 Denver area        5284     0.25     0.95     -0.70       26
 Fort Collins       5004     0.55     1.50     -0.95       37
 Greeley            4715     0.47     1.17     -0.70       40
 Loveland 2N        5080     0.49     1.60     -1.11       31
 Northglenn         5407     0.22     1.17     -0.95       19
 Wheat Ridge        5398     0.14     1.97     -1.83        7

Northeast/East Central Colorado Plains
 Akron 4E           4540     0.20     1.03     -0.83       19
 Holyoke            3780     0.30     1.22     -0.92       25
 Leroy 5WSW         4550     0.57     1.07     -0.50       53
 New Raymer 21N     5180     0.48     1.06     -0.58       45
 Sedgwick 5S        3990     0.36     1.29     -0.93       28
 Woodrow 6NNE       4374     0.19     0.93     -0.74       20

Weather Outlooks...
A weather pattern shift is occurring. A moist spring storm system
will bring much needed precipitation to the region in the form of
widespread rain and snow showers this evening. The storm system will
move slowly east Friday with precipitation gradually ending.

The 6 to 14 day outlooks through April 1st indicate a high
probability of above normal precipitation. The U.S. Seasonal Drought
Outlook through June 30th calls for drought to persist along the
Front Range Urban Corridor...with drought removal likely on the far
northeast Colorado Plains.

&&

Related web sites...
Additional information on current drought conditions may be found
at the following web addresses...

Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service (AHPS):
http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfo=bou

U.S. Drought Monitor:
http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

Colorado Climate Center/NIDIS Drought Presentations:
http://climate.colostate.edu/drought_webinar.php

NWS Climate Prediction Center Outlooks:
http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/
http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/expert_assessment/
sdo_summary.php

Natural Resources Conservation Service:
https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/co/snow/

CWCB Water Availability Task Force Presentations:
http://cwcb.state.co.us/public-information/
flood-water-availability-task-forces/Pages/main.aspx

USGS DroughtWatch and WaterWatch:
co.water.usgs.gov/drought/
waterwatch.usgs.gov/?m=real&r=co

Acknowledgments...
The Drought Monitor is a multi-agency effort involving the National
Weather Service and National Climatic Data Center, the U.S.
Department of Agriculture, State and Regional Center Climatologists
and the National Drought Mitigation Center. Information for this
statement has been gathered from NWS and FAA observation
sites...cooperative network stations, Natural Resources Conservation
Service SNOTEL network...CoCoRaHS network as well as the Colorado
Division of Water Resources...U.S. Geological Survey...U.S. Bureau
of Reclamation and U.S. Army Corp or Engineers stream and reservoir
gages.

Questions or Comments...
If you have any questions or comments about this drought information
please contact...
National Weather Service
325 Broadway
Boulder CO 80305
303-494-4221


$$
tlh


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