Risks of 2016 Colorado River shortage declaration pretty much gone, risks of 2017 also shrinking

The Bureau of Reclamation’s latest 24-month study, out this afternoon (pdf), shows continued improvement on the Colorado River system’s big reservoirs as a result of the hella rainy spring and summer, and therefore a continued reduction in the risk of a Lower Basin shortage declaration. The number to watch is a Lake Mead elevation of …

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An Albuquerque rainstorm for the record books

That thunderstorm¬†that woke most of us up early this morning (lightning flashes through our skylight at 1:30 a.m.) was one for the record books. At the National Weather Service’s airport gauge (the “official” Albuquerque gauge), 2.24 inches (5.7 cm). According to Brian Guyer at the Weather Service, that’s the single highest 24-hour total in history:

Albuquerque’s monsoon officially underway

By the powers invested in my by no one in particular, I hereby declare Albuquerque’s 2015 Monsoon Season underway. The weather radar is showing blobs of color in the high country to the southwest, there are high clouds popping up above the mountains to the east of the city, but the real clue was how …

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Halfway through June, another million acre feet on the Colorado River

The June mid-month forecast from the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center is up a million acre feet from June 1. Total April-July inflow into Lake Powell is now projected to be 6 million acre feet, up from 5 million acre feet forecast on June 1. That’s still below average, just 84 percent of the mean. …

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“Miracle May” leaves Colorado River reservoirs in much better shape than when the month started

A month that Eric Kuhn of the Colorado River Water Conservation District in western Colorado called a “miracle May” has left the Colorado River’s two largest reservoirs in much better shape than we might have expected given the glum projections of doomsayers like me. Precipitation across the Colorado River Basin has been well above average, …

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Tree Rings and Megadroughts

Mount Holyoke’s “Academic Minute” has a nice interview with Park Williams, who’s been using tree rings to flesh out the story of the current drought in the context of historic droughts, as it pertains to forests in the Southwest: I study the year-by-year records left by these rings, and they tell a fascinating story more …

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California ag showing remarkable resilience

Amid the rhetoric of doom, California agriculture has so far been growing its way through drought: Even as many farmers cut back their planting, California‚Äôs farm economy overall has been surprisingly resilient. Farm employment increased by more than 1 percent last year. Gross farm revenue from crop production actually increased by two-tenths of 1 percent …

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For the first time since 2011, less than half of New Mexico in drought

For the first time since January 2011, less than half of New Mexico is classified in “drought” this morning in the weekly federal “Drought Monitor” (“drought” is the oranges and browns): Driving back across the state from a meeting in Arizona last week, things looked greener than I’ve seen in a long time, though I …

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