Colorado Drought

Written by Elliot Ross, ESLLC 2016-2017

As you may or may not know, since early in the summer months of last year Colorado experienced some of the worst rainfall recorded in the past 20 years. It started in May of 2016. The records that were gathered in Fort Collins show that in June they received .05 inches. The trend continues throughout the late fall at worst only receiving 2.5% of the usual rainfall. This was a problem however it is not a huge problem. The Colorado River District keeps water in reservoirs specifically in case of shortage or contamination of water.

There is now good news after months of thinking that we were close to extreme drought the winter months have been bountiful with snow. Although on average 10 inches of snow is one inch of rainfall the mountains have been receiving a heavy load this winter. While all of us in Denver are experiencing dryness for the most part Crested Butte just two weeks ago got 100 plus inches of snow. It was also said that the snow was heavy and moist which leads me to think that in terms of rainfall it was most likely over 10 inches of rain. Things are looking up, considering that the snow pack is what gives us water for the spring and summer months, but we are not out of the woods yet.

32 % of Colorado is experiencing moderate drought and 2% are experiencing severe drought. Some parts of the state are most likely going to continue to experience drought if they are too far away from the mountains. The Natural Resource Conservation Service reported that the snow pack is 157% of the average and 148% of last year. The fact that there is more snow than last year this early in the winter tells me that we will not be experiencing nearly as much drought in the next year. Ethan Greene, director of the Colorado Avalanche Information Center said earlier in January that “We’re seeing areas like Wolf Creek Pass and Vail Pass that are getting 5 inches or 8 inches of water.” While it makes for bad driving conditions, it is certainly needed.

After massive mountain snow, Colorado’s drought situation — and snowpack — is improving.

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Jesse Paul. January 12, 2017

Drought is spreading quickly in colorado. Marmaduke, Jacy. 2016.


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