Western Water Year Coming to and End
The new water year in the west will begin on October 1st as the 2015 water year will be over by the end of this week. Compared to the previous water year there are some areas that have fared much better with precipitation while areas of drought persist in others.
The graphic below shows how many inches of precipitation that has fallen since the beginning of the water year in the west. The areas of blue shading show precipitation for the water year at 10 inches or less.
The next image below shows the precipitation amounts as they compare to average for the water year. Any shading that is green, blue or purple highlight areas of above normal precipitation.
The big winners in the 2015/2016 water year were areas along and east of the Continental Divide. Most of Montana and nearly all of Texas had above normal precipitation. Most of the middle of the USA did very well with rainfall during the water year. West of the Continental Divide, it was a different story. The areas of yellow and orange shading highlight below normal precipitation. Despite receiving more precipitation than the 2014/2015 water year, California and the Desert States continue to suffer drought conditions.
The drought conditions are reflected well in the reservoir storage numbers as of September 1, 2016. Only Montana, Wyoming and Colorado have surplus reservoir water storage heading into the new water year.
A wet spring and good snowpack really helped Montana, Wyoming and Colorado, while reservoir levels continue to suffer, especially in Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona and California.
Most computer models move what is left of Paine into the Southwest USA. It is fairly common in September for some eastern Pacific storms to work their way into the Southwestern states.
The far southern and southeast counties of California, even the deserts and areas of far western and southwestern Arizona will have the best chances for measurable rain.