February Forecast: Limited Water Supply In Westernmost States

A limited water supply is predicted in many areas west of the Continental Divide, according to data from this year’s second forecast by the National Water and Climate Center of the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

The center monitors parts of eastern California, now in a state of emergency because of drought. The area is suffering one of the lowest snow years on record. While dry in the far west states, the report predicts a near normal water supply for most areas east of the Continental Divide in Montana, Wyoming and Colorado. The center will continue to monitor and forecast water supplies for the next four months.

With the exception of New Mexico, which is extremely dry, conditions east of the Continental Divide are mostly near normal. Water supply then follows a gradient, becoming increasingly limited further west. The center’s experts caution states further west – especially California, Nevada and Oregon – to prepare for a dry spring and summer. The mountain snowpack in Oregon is also far below normal this winter. Most Oregonians depend on local sources for water supply. “We’re experiencing record breaking lows,” said the center’s hydrologist Melissa Webb. “We’d need months of record-breaking storms to get to normal.”

Although NRCS stream flow forecasts do not predict drought, they provide information about future water supply in states where snowmelt accounts for the majority of seasonal water supply. In addition to precipitation, stream flow in the west consists largely of accumulated mountain snow that melts and flows into streams as temperatures warm into spring and summer. NRCS scientists analyze the snowfall, air temperature, soil moisture and other measurements taken from remote sites to develop the water supply forecasts.

USDA is partnering with western states to help mitigate the severe effects of drought on agriculture. The department is also co-leading the National Drought Resilience Partnership, comprised of seven federal agencies collaborating to provide short and long term assistance to help states and communities respond to and plan for drought.

Since 1935, NRCS has conducted snow surveys and issued regular water supply forecasts. Since the late 1970s, NRCS has been installing, operating and maintaining an extensive, high-elevation automated system called SNOTEL, designed to collect snowpack and related climatic data in the western U.S. and Alaska.

Other resources on drought include the U.S. Drought Monitor and U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook map, which forecast drought conditions through April 30. For information on USDA’s drought efforts, visit http://www.usda.gov/drought. And to learn more about how NRCS is helping private landowners deal with drought, visit the NRCS website. http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/site/national/home/

Source: USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service

Topics: , , ,

Leave a Reply

One comment on “February Forecast: Limited Water Supply In Westernmost States

  1. What needs to be advertised is for the California Vegetable Growers to bring their tractors, disks .
    sprayers to Dade County—south of Miami, Florida and farm with plenty of water. We are sitting on a massive lake— 5 feet down with great water for farming of all kinds. Farming rules over track housing 24-7 & gives jobs to many locals

Fruits Stories
IMPAC.org screenshot
Citrus
February 17, 2017
How Precision Agriculture Is Helping Farmers Win Over Consumers
New Florida-based organization is seeking to break down barriers between farmers and shoppers by providing a platform to not only show what is grown, but how it's grown. Read More
Grapes
February 17, 2017
Washington Organization Rebrands Itself
Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers unveils new identity at convention, now known as Washington Winegrowers Association. Read More
Registration area at the 2017 Florida Blueberry Growers Association Spring Meeting
Berries
February 17, 2017
Florida Blueberry Growers Counting on a Comeback
With last season's disaster in the rear view, all eyes are searching for bluer skies. Read More
Agras MG-1 agriculture drone
Equipment
February 17, 2017
Wanted: Tech Innovators for Drone Challenge
Land O'Lakes Prize offers up $150,000 to help make drones more useable for farmers Read More
Fruits
February 17, 2017
Are Drones the Future of Pollination?
Researchers in Japan have turned drones into robot bees as artificial pollinators. Read More
Fruits
February 16, 2017
New App Helps Fruit Growers Calculate Chill Hours
App helps growers calculate chill hours based on locations and models and assess physiological needs of fruit crops. Read More
Brussels Sprout on a fork
Citrus
February 16, 2017
Food Trends Driving Growth Opportunities for Florida Farmers
More niche markets emerging for growers to give consumers what they want and need. Read More
The Latest
Food Safety
February 21, 2017
Food Safety Modernization Act Creeping F…
Massive regulatory overhaul unfolds as the specialty crop industry hopes to ensure common-sense food safety rules and inspection. Read More
Citrus
February 17, 2017
How Precision Agriculture Is Helping Far…
New Florida-based organization is seeking to break down barriers between farmers and shoppers by providing a platform to not only show what is grown, but how it's grown. Read More
Equipment
February 17, 2017
Wanted: Tech Innovators for Drone Challe…
Land O'Lakes Prize offers up $150,000 to help make drones more useable for farmers Read More
Fruits
February 17, 2017
Are Drones the Future of Pollination?
Researchers in Japan have turned drones into robot bees as artificial pollinators. Read More
Fruits
February 16, 2017
New App Helps Fruit Growers Calculate Ch…
App helps growers calculate chill hours based on locations and models and assess physiological needs of fruit crops. Read More
Citrus
February 16, 2017
Food Trends Driving Growth Opportunities…
More niche markets emerging for growers to give consumers what they want and need. Read More
Farm Management
February 14, 2017
Californians Holding Breath as More Stor…
Nearly 200,000 people evacuated below nation’s tallest dam; even growers have had enough for now. Read More
Fruits
February 10, 2017
Immigration Enforcement Warning Issued b…
Association advises members to prepare for Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids in wake of Trump’s executive order. Read More
Fruits
February 6, 2017
Organic Trade Association Rallies Suppor…
Group is encouraging consumers to tell USDA they support an organic research and promotion program. Read More
Citrus
February 5, 2017
New Product Helps Bees Brush Off Mites
A British company developed Bee Gym, distributed by Vita Ltd. Read More
Fruits
February 4, 2017
Pests, Diseases in Organic Growing the t…
Biology, ecology of organic production the focus of two-day event. Read More
Citrus
February 2, 2017
Florida Seeking to Fete More Eco-Innovat…
Nominations open for the Commissioner’s Agricultural-Environmental Award. Read More
Citrus
January 30, 2017
List of Best College Farms Released
Website evaluated farms on sustainability factors, community programming, and courses available at the university or college farm, not just in the classroom. Read More
Fruits
January 30, 2017
Avoid Technology at Your Peril [Opinion]
Like it or not, technology is going to have a dramatic effect on fruit growing over the next few years. Read More
Fruits
January 29, 2017
Hold the Labels, Please [Opinion]
Companies who point out the absence of GMOs can hurt may hurt the produce industry as a whole. Read More
Crop Protection
January 27, 2017
New Foliar-Applied Dual Mode Insecticide…
Cormoran, released by Adama USA, helps protect apples, pears, and other specialty crops, will target egg and larva stage of pests. Read More
Fruits
January 26, 2017
Fruit Breeding Industry Giant Passes Awa…
James N. Moore, who established the fruit breeding program at the University of Arkansas more than a half-century ago, was 85. Read More
Food Safety
January 26, 2017
Crop Advisers Should Help Growers with …
Crop advisers need to step up to the plate and help growers comply with Food Safety Modernization Act – especially onerous ag water mandates. Read More