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Climate: Is the Southwest ‘stuck’ in a drought pattern?

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NOAA’s winter outlook offers little relief for Arizona, New Mexico

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Drought conditions may persist across the southwestern U.S. this winter and may redevelop across the Southeast, according to the seasonal outlook from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

“Even though we don’t have La Niña, the atmosphere across the Pacific seems to be stuck in a La Niña mode … It’s been quite surprising to us, how persistent the pattern is,” said Mike Halpert, acting director of the Climate Prediction Center.

Parts of the Southwest, especially New Mexico, have been experiencing one of the driest periods on record, and Halpert said there is “decent agreement” in the CPC’s models on the climate signal that has resulted in the persistent trend. Continue reading

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Colorado: More water woes ahead?

State water task force gets a gloomy winter outlook, with odds climbing for dry conditions through March

Exposed shoreline terraces along Dillon Reservoir in Summit County, Colorado.

Statewide snowpack conditions as of Nov. 20.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Colorado could be in for another dry winter, but at this point, the state’s water providers have not revealed any specific plans to respond to continued drought.

Even after hearing a gloomy outlook on winter precipitation, big municipal utilities said they’re in a wait-and-see mode — and hoping for snow.

But there’s no reason to expect a particularly snowy pattern. In fact, all indications are that precipitation may end up below average once again, barring an some anomalous storm event this winter.

“Don’t shoot the messenger,” said meteorologist Klaus Wolter, with NOAA’s Earth Systems Research Laboratory in Boulder. “Most of the information I have is dry. I hope I’m wrong,” Wolter said, offering a seasonal outlook for a state water availability task force. Continue reading

Colorado: No drought relief in sight?

Forecasters not bullish on big winter

drought conditions persisted across most of Colorado during the past three months.

Temps from mid-September to mid-October average 1 to 3 degrees above average in western Colorado and 1 to 3 degrees below average east of the Rockies.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — This winter’s iffy weather pattern doesn’t hold the promise of significant drought relief, according to the National Weather Service’s Boulder office, which released its winter winter weather outlook this week.

There’s a reasonable expectation that the state will see more storms than last winter, but forecasters don’t expect those storms to be as intense or long-­‐lasting as those commonly observed during stronger El Niño or La Niña episodes, as the storm track is expected to be inconsistent in what looks to be either a weak El Niño or even neutral Pacific ocean conditions. Continue reading

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