Posted on May 13, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
USDA declaration opens door for emergency aid
FRISCO — While spring snow and rain have slightly eased Colorado water woes, the situation is more serious in the northwestern part of the state, where three large rural counties have been designated as a contiguous disaster areas due to drought.
Senator Michael Bennet announced the designation today, saying that the U.S. Department of Agriculture declaration makes farm operators in thise counties eligible to be considered for federal assistance, including Farm Service Agency emergency loans.
“Producers on Colorado’s western slope have faced drought conditions that are damaging their goods and hurting local economies,” Bennet said. “These disaster designations will allow farmers and ranchers to access critical assistance to help them deal with any losses to crops or livestock.”
Producers in counties designated as primary or contiguous disaster areas are eligible to be considered for FSA emergency loans. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the disaster declaration to apply for assistance. Local FSA offices can provide affected farmers and ranchers with additional information.
The drought declaration came after a winter of well-below normal snowfall and near-record warmth in the region.
Filed under: agriculture, climate and weather, Colorado, Drought | Tagged: climate, Colorado, drought, snowpack, USDA, weather | 1 Comment »
Posted on April 19, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Forecast for wet spring helps ease concerns
A drought donut around Colorado?
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Above-average reservoir storage and forecasts for a wet spring season could help keep Colorado out of drought trouble — even though statewide precipitation has been below average for the entire water year to-date, starting last October. As of mid-March, 40 percent of Colorado was classified as being in severe drought conditions, with only 25 percent of the state drought-free. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Drought, extreme weather, global warming, Summit County snow and weather | Tagged: climate, Colorado, Colorado weather, drought | 1 Comment »
Posted on April 17, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Lake Powell expected to see about half of average inflow
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Federal water managers downgraded their expectations for Upper Colorado River flows by several notches in the past few weeks, as warm and dry early spring conditions across most of the basin nibbled away at the mountain snowpack that sustains the river’s flows through the summer.
The Bureau of Reclamation today said they expect inflows into Lake Powell to be just 3.75 million acre feet during the key April to July runoff season. That’s just 52 percent of the 1980-2010 average and down 1.35 million acre feet from the projections of just a month ago, when the agency was hoping for 5.1 million acre feet of runoff. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Drought, global warming | Tagged: BuRec, California drought, Colorado River, Colorado River flows, drought, Lake Mead, Lake Powell, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation | 1 Comment »
Posted on April 15, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Historical water data not a good basis for planning; strategic planning and prompt action needed
Many parts of the world could experience serious drought by mid-century.
The western U.S. may already be in a new drought regime driven by global warming.
FRISCO —The western U.S. will likely be one of the first places to experience unprecedented drought driven by climate change, according to new research by scientists with the Vienna-based International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Drought, extreme weather, global warming | Tagged: climate adaptation, climate change, drought, European Geophysical Union, global warming, greenhouse gas emissions, IIASA, water supplies | 3 Comments »
Posted on April 11, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
‘This is a taste of what the ocean will be like in future decades’
Exceedingly high water temperatures in the eastern Pacific have persisted for several years, influencing weather across western North America and beyond.
FRISCO — Climate scientists have long known that the West has experienced significant long-term droughts during past millennia, but they don’t know exactly why. Understanding the cause may be more important now, given the huge impacts of the current drought in California, so researchers have been focusing on a huge mass of warm water hugging the West Coast.
Those conditions may be linked with a relatively unknown decadal weather pattern called the North Pacific Mode, which may be a significant weather driver, along with the El Niño-La Niño oscillation, and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, according to the University of Washington’s Dennis Hartmann. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, climate change, Drought, El Niño, extreme weather, global warming | Tagged: California drought, climate change, ENSO, North Pacific mode | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 10, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A dwindling snowpack means increased fire danger. This low spring snowpack in 2012 was followed by a severe wildfire season in Colorado.
‘The next several weeks are going to be critical in terms of precipitation’
FRISCO — Early snowmelt and above-average temperatures have upped the fire danger across parts of the Rocky Mountain and high plains region, federal officials said this week, forecasting a more active wildfire season than last year.
“This year we are expecting an average to above-average fire season,” said Rocky Mountain Area Coordination Center fire meteorologist Tim Mathewson. “A repeat of a 2000, 2002, 2006 and 2012 historic fire season is unlikely at this time; however, the next several weeks are going to be critical in terms of precipitation.” Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Drought, Environment, seasons | Tagged: climate, Rocky Mountains, snowpack, wildfire danger, Wildfires | Leave a comment »
Posted on April 10, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Record low streamflows expected in many areas this summer
Precipitation for the 2015 water year- to-date is now below normal over most of the West except for some northwestern areas. The dry March has significantly affected this picture since a month ago, when far more of the West was near normal.
FRISCO —Federal water watchers say their April 1 readings show that precipitation thus far in the 2015 water year (beginning October 1, 2014) is now below normal over most of the West except for some northwestern areas and coastal Alaska.
Snowpack has declined significantly since last month throughout the West due to the warm and dry March. Only high- elevation areas in the Rocky Mountains and Interior Alaska retain somewhat near normal snowpack.
Streamflow forecasts have dropped since last month due to a lack of snow accumulation during March and an early snowmelt, with most regions now expecting below normal streamflow. Reservoir storage is currently below normal in the Southwest and Nevada, with near to above normal storage elsewhere. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Drought, El Niño, extreme weather, global warming | Tagged: climate change, drought, extreme weather, global warming, streamflow forecast, Western United States | 1 Comment »