June 23, 2012--Drought concerns continue to grow (Cortez Journal)

For agricultural producers in Southwest Colorado, this is the story of drought. A day-to-day battle with the elements. The morning hope that today will bring much needed moisture. The evening disappointment when dust clouds continue to billow without the relief of showers. As June of 2012 draws to a close and summer begins its relentless march toward harvest, local ag producers find themselves in a precarious position between the monsoonal rains of July and August and the bone-dry conditions on the ground. “Everybody knows it is extremely dry,” said Dolores County CSU Extension Office Agent Kim Dillivan. “Seeds need some moisture to germinate and there just isn’t much moisture out there.” Lower than average snowpack in the high country, intense winds, warmer-than-normal temperatures and a lack of spring rains have combined forces in a perfect storm that’s left Southwest Colorado dry and parched. Since January, the Cortez area has received just 2.59 inches of total precipitation, not quite 48 percent of average. Conditions grow more bleak moving north through Montezuma and Dolores counties. Dove Creek has recorded just 1.8 inches of precipitation this year, less than 35 percent of average.

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