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NIDIS Intermountain West
Drought Early Warning System
February 11, 2020


Current U.S. Drought Monitor Depiction


Recommended Changes

Summary: February 11, 2020

Decent precipitation fell through much of the northern and central Rockies of Colorado and along the Front Range, with this area seeing at least 0.50" of precipitation over the last week.  This is a very welcome sight for the Front Range of Colorado after a very dry January.  Other areas seeing a nice amount of precipitation in the Intermountain West was a line of 0.50" plus precipitation amounts from northwest Wyoming into northern and central Utah along the Wasatch range. 

Not showing up on our precipitation maps that end Monday morning is the additional precipitation that fell Monday along Colorado's Front Range, additional amounts up to a quarter inch, higher amounts farther south.  More impressive are the precipitation numbers coming out of the Phoenix area, with amounts up to 1.25".  New Mexico also saw beneficial precipitation from precipitation on Monday, with Albuquerque receiving a few inches of snow, translating to around a half inch of precipitation.  Other half inch amounts popped up in southern New Mexico as well.

Standardized precipitation index values (SPIs) are a mixed bag across the region and across time scales. For the Four Corners area, very dry SPIs still show up on the 6-month timescale. In the short-term 30-day timescale, dry SPIs dominated much of Utah.  Colorado is wet in the northern and central mountains and the Front Range, near normal to dry for the rest of the state.

Snowpack across the region is looking good, with the entire IMW region seeing above normal snowpack.  With the systems moving through, the region saw a nice cool down with below normal temperatures over much of the region.  This has helped with the month-to-date temperatures cool to near normal.  This will help with the evaporative demand, even while some areas remain dry.

The next 7-days starting Tuesday is showing a shot of precipitation in the mountains of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming and a nice shot of precipitation for much of New Mexico.  The 2-week outlook is hinting at chances for below normal precipitation for the western half of the IMW region and chances of above normal for the eastern half, with temperatures leaning to the cool side of normal for the region.

Recommendations: 

UCRB: Trimming of D0 in southwest Wyoming, northern Utah and northwestern Colorado along with trimming of D1 in northwestern Colorado and slightly into Utah is recommended.  Beneficial snowfall amounts the last week and in January have bumped up snowpack to better than 120% of normal for most of the region.

While Utah is looking alright, the consensus of the Utah Drought Group is that D1 is still appropriate for eastern and central Utah for the time.  They seem to miss most of the good events and are still teetering on the edge of falling back into D2 conditions.  Since they are on the edge of D1/D2, D1 is still appropriate.

The D2 of San Juan County in southern Utah and southern Colorado could be ready to be improved to D1, however, we need some cross boarder help on this improvement, so I'm throwing out the recommendation for suggestions.

Eastern Colorado: D0 improve to Dnada for El Paso and surrounding counties, catching Pueblo and D1 improved to D0 for Pueblo and Huerfano counties.  This is thanks to heavy precipitation/snow, above normal snowpack and the positive mood of water suppliers along the Front Range.

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