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Rain may bring relief during the extended drought

Halie West

New measurements for the state of drought in the West deliver a grim long-term forecast. But the latest data also show new rains could bring relief to some parts of the region. 

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation released its two-year look ahead at reservoir levels within the Colorado River basin. It reflects a trend of steadily dropping water supplies. Most of the river’s flow originates high in the Rockies, and this year brought an exceptionally dry spring to that area...leaving runoff into Lake Powell at a quarter of normal levels. That has sped up chances of the reservoir dropping too low to generate hydropower. Drought persists across much of the Colorado River watershed, but a weather phenomenon called an “atmospheric river” could bring significant amounts of rain through next week. The heaviest will fall in California, but significant precipitation is also expected in Nevada, Utah and Western Colorado.