Colorado climatologists say state facing drought
April 4, 2012
FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) — Colorado State University climatologists are warning of water restrictions later this year unless the state gets more moisture, with up to 98 percent of the state already facing drought conditions.
Aurora Water spokesman Greg Baker says destructive wildfires and an arid March have reduced expectations for this year’s water supply.
The most severe drought in the state is in the Arkansas Basin where drought areas are reporting extreme conditions as a result of last summer’s Texas drought which also affected Colorado.
In Fort Collins, March was the warmest in 124 years of record keeping.
Warnings are also out for the Yampa/White Basin in northwestern Colorado due to lack of sufficient snowpack, and most of the northeastern plains are abnormally dry.
The statewide snowpack was at 49 percent of average Tuesday.
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State climatologist Nolan Doesken said even though reservoir levels are still strong and northeast Colorado soil moisture is still good, it’s early in the season for the state to be this warm and dry.
“This is very concerning,” he said.
He compared the current drought to 2002, the last major drought in Colorado. That drought stripped many farms on the eastern plains of topsoil and forced ranchers to sell their cattle to keep them from dying.
Doesken says April of that year was much like March this year.