Drought, River Flow, & Snowpack update

Drought conditions are expected to persist for much of the Western US through the summer

Drought conditions are expected to persist for much of the Western US through the summer

Thursday – 19 May 2022 – 5:15pm

This is a mid-month update. The details are below.

Our nearby basins received 85% of the seasonal precipitation.  That's not bad! Thank goodness for the big late December storm cycle. It accounted for roughly 35% of the total!
Our nearby basins received 85% of the seasonal precipitation. That’s not bad! Thank goodness for the big late December storm cycle. It accounted for roughly 35% of the total!
That snowpack melted in a hurry.  Our nearby basins are already down to 3% of average.
That snowpack melted in a hurry. Our nearby basins are already down to 3% of average.
The 30 day San Juan River flow is on the top and the bottom is for the Piedra River. Both rivers have peaked well ahead of normal.  The San Juan River typically peaks the first week of June and the Piedra peaks the last week of May.
The 30 day San Juan River flow is on the top and the bottom is for the Piedra River. Both rivers have peaked ahead of normal. The San Juan River typically peaks the first week of June and the Piedra peaks the last week of May.
These are lake levels for the primary reservoirs tracked in the Upper Colorado River shed. I highlighted the San Juan River drainage lakes at the bottom of the table. I did some digging to determine that Navajo Lake bottomed out at 49.85% of full pool on 16 Mar.  It has gained 6% and is still slowly rising. As of yesterday, 18 May, inflows were 1,913cfs and outflows were 290cfs. Inflows peaked on 9 May at 2,951cfs.
These are lake levels for the primary reservoirs tracked in the Upper Colorado River shed. I highlighted the San Juan River drainage lakes at the bottom of the table. I did some digging to determine that Navajo Lake bottomed out at 49.85% of full pool on 16 Mar. It has gained 6% and is still slowly rising. As of yesterday, 18 May, inflows were 1,913cfs and outflows were 290cfs. Inflows peaked on 9 May at 2,951cfs.
Today's drought map is on the left, and the one for 3 May is on the right. Conditions for most of Southwest Colorado and the San Luis Valley have worsened.  Most of Archuleta County is now experiencing "Severe Drought" and the southeast corner is under "Extreme Drought".
Today’s drought map is on the left, and the one for 3 May is on the right. Drought conditions for most of southwest Colorado and the San Luis Valley have worsened. Most of Archuleta County is now experiencing “Severe Drought” and the southeast corner is under “Extreme Drought”.
The Drought Outlook updated today expects the drought to persist through the summer for most of the Western US.
The Drought Outlook updated today expects the drought to persist through the summer for most of the Western US.
The CPC's first look at June expects above average temps and below average precip.  They'll update this again the last couple of days in May. I agree with this outlook at this point. Arleen will do a summer outlook by 1 June.
The CPC’s first look at June expects above average temps and below average precip. They’ll update this again the last couple of days in May. Right now I agree with this outlook. Arleen will do a summer outlook by 1 June.

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I’ve been a “weather geek” since I was young child. I joined the military out of high school and was lucky to get my dream job in weather. I have 20 years of military weather experience which includes forecasting the weather all over the world. Highlights were six years in Alaska and making life and death weather decisions during deployments. I love mountains, I love snow, and I love summertime thunderstorms. I spend a bunch of time playing outdoors and found my paradise in Pagosa Springs. I do Pagosa Weather as a community service. Hopefully you find us helpful!
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