Upcoming seminar spotlights regional water issues

CRWCD’s annual water seminar features leading national and regional water and climate experts

Several weekend stories addressed water quailty issues.

Got water?

Staff Report

FRISCO — Colorado this summer may have escaped the severe drought plaguing much of the West — at least for now — but that doesn’t mean the state is immune from regional water woes.

Planners and water users know very well that huge long-term challenges remain for all the states in the Colorado River Basin, and some of those issues will be highlighted during the Colorado River Water Conservation District’s Sept. 10 water seminar in Grand Junction.

Two of the most important women in Western water leadership will be addressing the Colorado River District’s popular Annual Water Seminar in Grand Junction, Colo., that takes place Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Two Rivers Convention Center. Continue reading

Summer rains keep Colorado mostly drought-free

El Niño projected to bring above average autumn precipitation


Spring and summer rains helped make up for a winter snowfall deficit in Colorado, where statewide precipitation was 98 percent of average 10 months into the 2015 water year. Graph courtesy NRCS.

Staff Report

FRISCO —Serious drought conditions persisted across the far West in July, but Colorado’s wet spring and summer helped boost the state’s water supplies and stream flow forecasts going into the late summer and fall. Only two small slices of the state have experienced abnormally dry conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Continue reading

U.S. wildfires surge to 10-year high


Towering flames at the Fork Complex wildfire in California, Photo via Inciweb.

Feds spending $150 million per day and seek firefighting help from Canada, Australia and New Zealand

Staff Report

FRISCO — This year’s wildfire activity in the U.S. has surged to the highest level in 10 years, with the National Interagency Fire Center reporting that about 7.2 million acres have burned so far, and officials said they expect the wildfire season to intensify in the coming weeks.

The drought-stricken far West is hardest hit, with 16 large fires currently burning in Washington, 14 in California and 12 in Oregon. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell said federal agencies are currently spending about $150 million per day on fighting fires across the West. Continue reading

Climate: El Niño could extend Pacific Northwest drought

NOAA updates seasonal outlook; El Niño likely to persist into spring


Warmer than average sea surface temperatures prevail across most of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean, as El Niño continues to strengthen.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Federal weather experts today said they’re more sure than ever that a strong El Niño will persist through the fall and winter, but they are less certain about how the cyclical Pacific Ocean climate pattern will play out across the U.S. The Aug. 13 El Niño update and diagnostic discussion is online here — it says there’s a 90 percent chance El Niño will last through the winter and an 85 percent chance it will last into early spring 2016.

During an El Niño, sea surface temperatures are above average across the eastern and central equatorial Pacific, and this year’s event could be among the strongest on record dating back to 1950, said Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. Continue reading

Climate: U.S. July 2015 temperature near average

More heat records set in Pacific Northwest


Ten states reported slightly cooler than average temps in July 2015.

Staff Report

FRISCO — July 2015 was record-warm across a large part of the Pacific Northwest and the southern tip of Florida, and well above average for most of the West, with near- to below average temperatures in a big swath extending from the central U.S. into the Northeast.

Taken all together, the monthly average temperature for the lower 48 states was 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average, ranking near the middle in the 121-year period of record, according to the latest monthly update from the National Climatic Data Center.
Continue reading

Climate: NOAA updates 2015 hurricane outlook

A NASA visualization of Hurricane Floyd approaching the Florida coast.

Will there be a major hurricane in 2015?

Increased odds of below-average season enhanced by strengthening El Niño and cool Atlantic sea surface temps

Staff Report

FRISCO — A strengthening El Niño and cooler than average sea surface temperatures across parts of the Atlantic Ocean may further dampen hurricane activity this summer, federal weather experts said this week in the updated 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook.

According to the National Hurricane Center, says there’s a 90 percent chance of a below-average season — but that doesn’t mean coastal residents should let their guard down.

“Tropical storms and hurricanes can and do strike the United States, even in below-normal seasons and during El Niño events,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “Regardless of our call for below-normal storm activity, people along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts should remain prepared and vigilant, especially now that the peak months of the hurricane season have started.” Continue reading

Climate: June 2015 the 2d-warmest on record

Western U.S. bakes under record heat


Four states in the Far West reported record-warm January – June temperatures.

Staff Report

FRISCO — With an average temperature of 2.9 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average, last month was the second-warmest June on record for the contiguous United States, ranking behind June 1933, according to the latest monthly update from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.

The West was sweltering, as five states (California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah) set all-time June temperature records. Wyoming, Montana and Nevada reported June temps that were in the all-time top five, while Colorado and New Mexico’s June readings were in the top ten warmest on record. Continue reading


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