Drought hits most of Colorado; outlook bleak
June 1, 2012
DENVER – Most of Colorado is in a moderate to extreme drought, and the outlook for June offers little hope for improvement.
The U.S. Drought Monitor says severe drought conditions covered about a quarter of Colorado at the end of May, encompassing nearly every place north and west of Salida. A pocket of that area is even worse, with severe drought conditions.
The rest of the state is either abnormally dry or in a moderate drought.
The Drought Monitor says a severe drought means crop or pasture losses are likely and water shortages are common. An extreme drought means major crop and pasture losses are possible and water shortages could become widespread.
The National Weather Service predicts June temperatures will be above normal and rainfall will be below normal statewide.
March through May was the driest spring on record in Boulder, with 3.01 inches of moisture. The average is 7.85 inches.
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“It was a dismally dry spring,” meteorologist Matt Kelsch told the Boulder Daily Camera.
Boulder Creek was flowing at a rate of 100 cubic feet per second Thursday. The creek’s average flow this time of year is 400 to 500 cubic feet per second.
The Boulder County Sheriff’s Office has imposed a fire ban for a large portion of western unincorporated Boulder County.
Grand Junction recorded 0.58 inch of moisture March through May, the second-lowest on record, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reported.
Steamboat Springs recorded 0.68 inch of precipitation in May. The May average is 2.08 inches.
The drought prompted officials in Routt County, which includes Steamboat Springs, to enact fire restrictions in unincorporated areas. Campfires still are allowed at designated campgrounds and recreational sites, but recreational fires at homes are not.
“We haven’t seen it quite like this since the 2002 season, which was a big wildfire season,” National Weather Service meteorologist Joe Ramey told Steamboat Today.