Thu March 21, 2013

Waiting For Colorado’s Drought To Improve? It’s Going To Be Awhile

A new three-month outlook released Thursday, shows Colorado will likely have above average temperatures and below average precipitation.

More than half the country is currently experiencing drought conditions. That’s expected to either continue or intensify for much of the plains and Rocky Mountain region, with some areas expected to improve slightly. In a release about Thursday's new forecasts, National Weather Service deputy director Laura Furgione said:

"This outlook reminds us of the climate diversity and weather extremes we experience in North America, where one state prepares for flooding while neighboring states are parched, with no drought relief in sight."

Some of Colorado’s dire forecast comes from current snowpack totals. In some areas of the state, this winter was just as dry as last year. Statewide snowpack is well below average, currently at 77 percent. That number is even lower in water basins that feed the agriculture-heavy eastern plains. The parched South Platte river basin has the state’s lowest snow totals, currently sitting more than 30 percent below normal.

Less moisture affects many of Colorado’s weather-dependent industries like skiing, river rafting, fly fishing, farming and ranching. Many of those businesses are still reeling from the persistent dry spell that intensified last year.