Southwest Colorado is already backpacking, Utahns are ripping single-track in Park City, and Coloradans are fishing on clear waters when normally– the river would be hitting its high water mark and running a chocolate shade of brown.
Instead it’s emerald rivers and dry mountains for much of the west this spring. The arid conditions are historic with the Upper Colorado River Basin seeing its worst water year in some 60 years. Save for parts of Washington State and the entire Northern Rockies, the west is looking down the barrel of a hot and potentially dangerous summer season.
“During the summer months #drought conditions are forecast to improve across the Southeast and much of the Great Plains. Drought development is anticipated across south Texas and Oregon as both areas shift into what are typically their drier months” – NWS Climate Prediction Center
The southernmost zones on the latest Snow Water Equivalency map are suffering the worst and hydrological experts are predicting horrible drought conditions and the prospect of wildfire season is daunting.
The lack of snowpacks that hang around in the high country into June and July is a scary thought for those same hydrological experts.
Unlike other parts of the country, much of the west sees the majority of its precipitation in the winter months and as such relies on those high mountain snow-packs to fill reservoirs, power cities– not to mention preserve the surrounding environment.
Find out how you can help save water this summer here: Water Saving Tips | The Nature Conservancy
Find out more about your regions drought status here: National Integrated Drought Information System