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

FruitsGrower Input Needed For Spotted Wing Drosophila Survey
December 16, 2014
Results of stakeholder needs survey helps prioritize research and education activities. Read More
CitrusUSDA Offers Crop Disaster Assistance For Fruit And Vegetable Growers
December 16, 2014
Free basic coverage plans and premium discounts available for new, underserved, and limited income farmers who had been ineligible for federal crop insurance. Read More
Crop ProtectionFine Americas Bolsters Technical, Sales Force
December 16, 2014
Plant growth regulator company adds two industry veterans to enhance agriculture, ornamental, and landscape business. Read More
Apples & PearsRecord Crowds Flock To Washington Horticultural Show
December 16, 2014
More than 1,600 attend; banquet attendance is up by nearly 100. Read More
CitrusSouth Florida Takes Plunge With Major Expansion Of Water Storage Program
December 15, 2014
New ag land partnerships, including a $124 million deal with Alico, more than double the current holding capacity. Read More
CitrusApplications Now Being Accepted For Florida Specialty Crop Block Grants
December 12, 2014
$4.5 million available to help fund industry-enhancing projects. Read More
GrapesDoes Cabernet Franc Fit Into Bordeaux Regional Production?
December 12, 2014
Clonal selection, improving fruit topics, influence of soil characteristics were among topics French researcher presented to Finger Lakes grape growers. Read More

The Latest

Fruits6 Food Trends For 2015
December 17, 2014
University of Florida experts predict what will be cooking for the upcoming year. Read More
Apples & PearsNovember Cold May Hurt Washington Orchards
December 17, 2014
But it’s too early to tell if well-below-normal temperatures will increase tree mortality. Read More
Apples & PearsFour Highlights You May Have Missed At Great Lakes Expo
December 16, 2014
Record-setting crowd sat in on presentations featuring precision orchard management, mechanical berry harvesters, biocontrols, and more. Read More
FruitsGrower Input Needed For Spotted Wing Drosophila Survey
December 16, 2014
Results of stakeholder needs survey helps prioritize research and education activities. Read More
CitrusUSDA Offers Crop Disaster Assistance For Fruit And Vege…
December 16, 2014
Free basic coverage plans and premium discounts available for new, underserved, and limited income farmers who had been ineligible for federal crop insurance. Read More
Crop ProtectionFine Americas Bolsters Technical, Sales Force
December 16, 2014
Plant growth regulator company adds two industry veterans to enhance agriculture, ornamental, and landscape business. Read More
Apples & PearsRecord Crowds Flock To Washington Horticultural Show
December 16, 2014
More than 1,600 attend; banquet attendance is up by nearly 100. Read More
CitrusSouth Florida Takes Plunge With Major Expansion Of Wate…
December 15, 2014
New ag land partnerships, including a $124 million deal with Alico, more than double the current holding capacity. Read More
CitrusApplications Now Being Accepted For Florida Specialty C…
December 12, 2014
$4.5 million available to help fund industry-enhancing projects. Read More
Food SafetyDel Monte Recalls Fresh Cut Fruit With Apples Due To Po…
December 11, 2014
Voluntary recall enacted following the results of a random test by the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Division of Food Safety. Read More
CitrusSurvey Shows Food Safety, GMOs Among Public-Issue Conce…
December 9, 2014
Need for education clear as confusion, misperception rampant among results. Read More
Farm ManagementAPHIS Accepting Comments On Streamlining Vegetable And …
December 9, 2014
Move expands general phytosanitary measures and notice-based process for approval of new imports. Read More
FruitsSumitomo Chemical Acquires U.S. DuPont Asana Insecticid…
December 9, 2014
The insect control product will be distributed through Valent U.S.A. Read More
Crop ProtectionBioSafe Systems Announces Amendment To ZeroTol 2.0 Bact…
December 9, 2014
ZeroTol 2.0 is now labeled for use on fruits and vegetables grown in the greenhouse. Read More
CitrusDemand For Florida Farmland Exceeding Supply 
December 5, 2014
High prices and water shortages in other parts of the country have potential buyers looking to the Sunshine State. Read More
FruitsA Combination Of Culprits Are Related To The Decline I…
December 3, 2014
The latest research into Colony Collapse Disorder is focused on a number of issues facing bee populations. Read More
Crop ProtectionPotential Biological Control Found For Potent Avocado P…
December 2, 2014
University of Florida scientists believe fungi could be key to beating the red bay ambrosia beetle and laurel wilt disease. Read More
FruitsGiant Washington Apple Crop Is The New Norm
December 2, 2014
Marketers agree that giant crops, like the 155 million boxes in 2014, won’t be considered monsters any more. Read More