ABRFC Drought Briefing(10/03/2013)
......Heavy rains across the West decreases drought..........
Near historic rainfall along the mountains of New Mexico and Colorado, along with above normal rainfall across the high plains east of here, produced a significant decrease in the drought severity classification across much of the western ABRFC during the past month. Seasonal early-Fall cool fronts generated rainfall for much of the remainder of the basin during the past couple of weeks, leading to slight week-to-week variations in drought classification, but no major changes.
Figure 1 shows the past 30 days of precipitation across the ABRFC area. An extremely moist airmass combined with the seasonal monsoon precipitation pattern across Colorado and New Mexico to produce copious rainfall across much of those states. Amounts as high as 17" were reported, leading to significant flooding and loss of life and property. Meanwhile, the rest of the basin was generally seasonal, with a few areas seeing above normal rain, while several areas received below normal rainfall. Figure 2 shows the departure from normal precipitation across the ABRFC at the 30, 60, 90, and 180 day timescales. This animation shows the tremendous swings in precipitation that are typical to the part of the country. At 30 days, much of the western half of the basin is wet, while the eastern half is dry. At 90 days, much of the basin shows wetter than normal conditions. Figure 3 shows a six week animation of the drought designations from the U.S. Drought Monitor. This animation shows the significant changes across our basin during tha past 6 weeks. The severity of the drought in the West is greatly diminished. However, the exceptional nature of the drought is easily seen, as Extreme Drought (D3) and Severe Drought (D2) are still prevalent.
Figure 4 shows the latest Drought Severity Index map based on the Long Term Palmer Index from the Climate Prediction Center (CPC). Much of the ABRFC is shown as near normal. The CPC also generates the U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook (Figure 5). Unfortunately, drought conditions are forecast to persist or worsen across the western and southern areas of the basin through the end of the year. The CPC's 3-month Precipitation Outlook is shown in Figure 6. The outlook calls for equal chances of near, above, or below normal precipitation across the ABRFC for the next 3 months. On the Arkansas River, all reservoirs in eastern Oklahoma are near their normal pool elevations due to the recent rainfall (Figure 7). A few reservoirs in the Red River Basin (Figure 8) still have below normal pool elevations, although there is improvement region-wide during the past several weeks. Real-time river gage data from the USGS can be linked from Figure 9.
To view charts of the running precipitation total for 2013 compared to normal and for previous years back to 2006 for several locations across the ABRFC click here.
ABRFC is now producing experimental soil moisture graphics using parameters from our hydrologic distributed model. Click here.
Fig. 3: 6-week animation of previous Drought Monitor maps. Click here for direct link.
Fig. 4 CPC's Long-term Drought Severity Index. Click here for direct link.
Fig. 5: CPC Seasonal Drought Outlook. Click here for direct link.
Fig. 6: CPC 3-month Precipitation Outlook. Click here for direct link.
Fig. 9: Real-time USGS Streamflow Map. Click here for direct link.
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