Drought conditions persist with dry November

GARRISON WELLS Updated: November 30, 2012 at 12:00 am • Published: November 30, 2012

Colorado Springs is a dry city, and we’re not talking alcohol.

A scant 0.02 inches of precipitation fell on Colorado Springs in November, a tie for 9th driest in history “and that’s bad enough,” said Randy Gray, meteorological technician with the National Weather Service in Pueblo.

“It’s at a critical point now,” he said. “Currently, practically all of El Paso County is in what is called extreme drought conditions.”

There are five ratings of drought, with the worst being “abnormally dry,” followed by “exceptionally dry,” and the third worst, where Colorado Springs rates – extremely dry.

This is one time when being in the top five isn’t a good thing.

November’s average high for Colorado Springs is 51 degrees and the average low is 25.2 degrees. The mean, that’s right in the middle, is 38.1 degrees, Gray said. The city’s mean temperature this November through Thursday was 5.1 degrees above where it normally sits. The average precipitation for the month is .40 inches.

The outlook doesn’t get any better for at least the next few months, Gray said.

“The bad news is that for this part of the country especially, the drought conditions are expected to persist or possibly even intensify,” he said.

That’s bad news all around. Farmers, already hit by high prices for hay and other supplies, may face more price jumps, said Ken Bachmann, store manager at the Big R of Falcon. The price of hay is up 44 percent this year.

“They’re talking about another big jump by March and there might not be very much around,” Bachmann said.

Could this be the new normal?

Today’s drought conditions are an extension of drought conditions that started as far back as 2000, Gray said. Water supplies get pinched, and in Colorado, where water is becoming increasingly scarce because of the growing population, it can be particularly painful.

It’s not all bad, though, said John Hooton, owner of Stargazers Theatre & Event Center.

Good weather keeps his attendance up. But ski areas lose business, bad for a state dependent on tourism.

“It’s not really all that bad walking around in short sleeves,” Hooton said. “But hey, it’s Christmas. Where is the snow?”

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