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Topic: ominous drought in The West< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
 Post Number: 1
Dave Senesac Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: May 03 2013, 1:44 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The West outside the northern border areas, is in year two of one of the worst droughts in decades.  Likely a really bad summer fire season ahead.  

Something ominous about the drought this time with some starting to wonder if it this is the beginning of long term global pattern changes.   Many urban regions and agricultural areas of The West are very vulnerable to even slight decreases in available water as decades of mindless growth and development  have already overtaxed available supplies.  See map and text on this link:

http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

snippet:

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Western U.S.:  The largely disappointing water year neared an end, with many areas of the west ending the season with bleak spring runoff prospects and increasing drought concerns.  Showers were confined to the non-drought areas of the Pacific Northwest, where 1 to 2 inches (liquid equivalent) were reported during the monitoring period.  Elsewhere, above-normal temperatures and dry weather maintained or increased drought intensity and coverage.    

There was little change from California into the Great Basin and central Rockies.  However, D0 (Abnormal Dryness) was expanded up the coast into northwestern California and southwestern Oregon, where 90-day precipitation averaged 35 to 60 percent of normal.  Extreme Drought (D3) was reduced in southwestern Wyoming, where reports from the field indicated conditions have improved in this data-spare area.

Farther south, water-year precipitation shortfalls increased from the southern San Joaquin Valley (40 to 55 percent of normal)  into southern Nevada (30 to 50 percent of normal) and western Arizona (less than 50 percent of normal) .   The water-year’s disappointing conclusion was further evidenced by the last 3 months, when rainfall tallied less than 20 percent of normal from the southern California Coast into western Arizona and much of central and eastern New Mexico.  Consequently, Moderate (D1) to Severe (D2) Drought was expanded in these locales.  In New Mexico, the past 36 months (Apr 2010 - Mar 2013) have been the 4th driest period on record for the state, the driest since the 1950s.  Exceptional Drought (D4) was expanded to include much of New Mexico’s Rio Grande Valley as well as portions of east-central and northeastern New Mexico.


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hikerjer Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: May 03 2013, 1:54 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Not good at all.  Welcome to the "new West".

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TravisNWood Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 03 2013, 2:19 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Our drought has been at least 8 of the last 10 years. We'd be lucky if it were limited to only 2 years.

Fortunately this year, we've had record-breaking April snows to slightly ease the drought, yet it continues. If this is a harbinger of climate change, it's not encouraging.

Fortunately we don't have the large population of California to further stress water resources.


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Panhandler Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: May 03 2013, 2:24 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I remember reading last year that the last 80 years in the southwest (when it was really populated) were the wettest in hundreds or thousands of years. Perhaps reverting to "normal".
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tarol Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 03 2013, 2:51 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Yep, we're already working lots of fires, it's gonna be a busy year for sure.

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PostIcon Posted on: May 03 2013, 3:08 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(TravisNWood @ May 03 2013, 2:19 pm)
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Our drought has been at least 8 of the last 10 years. We'd be lucky if it were limited to only 2 years.

Yes, for much of the SW, it's more accurate to say that rather than being in the second year of a drought, we're in the midst of a much longer drought punctuated by a few wet years.

Panhandler is also correct, in that what was taken to be "normal" in the late 19th and early 20th centuries turned out to be much wetter than longer-term averages.  Among other things, this error resulted in water allotments whose combined total routinely exceeds what is naturally available.
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SW Mtn backpacker Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 03 2013, 3:39 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Yep, reported in the Southwest forum some springs I used to camp by in April are now bone-dry by March.  One can still backpack going from one major river to another but  ( WARNING ) carry/cache your water between truly reliable water sources.

Also in the desert Southwest, they will close the wilderness areas, plus state and city parks.  There's always IMAX - Albuquerque or the Vegas Strip, I guess ..


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swimswithtrout Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: May 03 2013, 8:39 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I thank that's a huge "improvement" over last years forecast for this same time at my local in the Front Range of CO.

The hardest hit areas have migrated east and west into the southern plains states except for New Mexico.

But at the same time, here's the long term forecast for fire danger provided by bbob.

While I'm glad that my region is finally getting some much needed late moisture, in large amounts, dropping us out of the extreme fire danger loop, I have sympathy for all of our members that are experiencing what I went through last summer/ this winter.


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CajunHiker Search for posts by this member.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 04 2013, 11:17 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Panhandler @ May 03 2013, 1:24 pm)
QUOTE
I remember reading last year that the last 80 years in the southwest (when it was really populated) were the wettest in hundreds or thousands of years. Perhaps reverting to "normal".

I've heard / read that, as well.  Doesn't bode well.

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