- About WIP
- Participating Entities
- Animas-La Plata Water Conservancy District
- City of Durango Water Commission
- Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority
- Dolores Water Conservancy District
- Florida Water Conservancy District
- La Plata Electric Association
- La Plata Water Conservancy District
- Mancos Conservation District
- Mancos Water Conservancy District
- Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD)
- Pine River Irrigation District
- San Juan Water Conservancy District
- Southwestern Water Conservation District
- U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
- Regional Water Projects
- Animas River Stakeholders
- Animas-La Plata Project
- Cloud Seeding Program
- Dolores Project (McPhee Reservoir)
- Dry Gulch Reservoir (Pending)
- Florida Project (Lemon Reservoir)
- Jackson Gulch Reservoir
- Long Hollow Reservoir
- Pine River Project (Vallecito Reservoir)
- Rio Blanco Restoration Project
- River Protection Work Group
- UMETCO (Urivan) Water Rights
- Water Information
- Contact WIP
- Colorado, Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, Water Quality, Oil and Gas Development
March 19, 2013--Drought conditions expected to continue; Overview of state plan given to meeting attendees (Trinidad Times)
Colorado is entering its third year of drought, with the southeast part of the state rated in the most dangerous level of D-4, or extreme drought conditions.
With neither El Niño or a La Niña conditions in the Pacific Ocean, long-range weather forecasters have been struggling to develop confidence in their outlook for the coming spring season — a critical time for much of the West in terms of getting some relief from drought conditions.
The 1950s that could be on the way to Colorado is the decade of drought. So says Brian Bledsoe, a Colorado Springs meteorologist who studies the history of ocean currents and uses what he learns to make long-term weather forecasts.
In a concerning sign for water managers, Colorado’s snowpack is shrinking at a time of year when it usually grows steadily. Through late November, the statewide snowpack is tracking well below the historic average and just barely above the all-time minimum. Late fall and early winter snow tends to freeze into a solid base layer that melts slowly in the spring to sustain spring runoff.
Colorado could be in for another dry winter, but at this point, the state’s water providers have not revealed any specific plans to respond to continued drought. Even after hearing a gloomy outlook on winter precipitation, big municipal utilities said they’re in a wait-and-see mode — and hoping for snow. But there’s no reason to expect a particularly snowy pattern.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting a warmer- and drier-than-average winter for 2012-2013 after the El Niño weather pattern didn’t develop as predicted. When El Niño is present, warm water in the Pacific Ocean causes a shift in tropical weather patterns, which in turn affects the jet stream over the United States.
With sea surface temps cooling to near average in much of the equatorial Pacific, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center has dropped an El Niño watch that’s been in effect for the past several months. El Niño is part of a cyclical pattern of sea surface temperature variations that affects global weather patterns.
No Niño will be coming from the Pacific Ocean this winter, according to climate experts, making this winter’s long-term forecast a toss-up. For months this summer, patterns unfolding in the equatorial Pacific Ocean led forecasters to believe that El Niño — which typically creates wetter weather for the southern U.S. — was on tap for the upcoming winter.
Without a strong El Niño or La Niña signal, Colorado weather watchers are struggling even more than usual to get a sense of how much snow to expect this coming winter, critical information for water managers who have seen reservoir storage dwindle to below 70 percent of average for this time of year.
The high probability of seeing an El Niño year for the upcoming ski season has some local ski areas hoping for an improvement over last year's dismal season — and announcing opening days for the upcoming season. Consistent with opening days in 2011, local ski areas will open anywhere between mid-October into December depending on weather conditions.