This week's drought monitor update continues to highlight the dry conditions in eastern Colorado. The big red spot centered over Pueblo County is certainly an eyesore. Unfortunately, very dry weather this Spring so far has increased drought to extreme levels.
So far in 2023, the Pueblo airport has received 0.81" of precipitation, which is rain and melted snow combined since January. This means the city has fallen into a deficit compared to normal. By the end of April, Pueblo usually measures 3 inches on average.
The Arkansas River, which runs through Pueblo County has begun its run-off, with snowpack now on the decline. The good news is that late in the season, snowpack ended up peaking near normal for the Arkansas River basin. The spring snowmelt and runoff are forecast to be near normal this year. So, for agriculture and recreation, we can expect a normal year for the Arkansas.
But, a decent run-off does not negate the current drought in the plains. We will need to see a wetter pattern to improve drought in Pueblo County.
Thankfully, a change in our current weather pattern is expected. The last week of April looks to bring more active weather. Over the next 7 days (April 20-27) southern Colorado may see as much as an inch and a half of precipitation. This will come in several rounds, with spotty snow and rain showers this weekend, especially on Saturday. Then another good dose of moisture Monday through Wednesday, favoring the Tuesday afternoon and evening timeframe.
This could be potentially the drought buster, or at least helper, that Pueblo County needs this Spring.
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