At last, a good dose of rain

Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013 12:07 AM

Tropical Storm Ivo stalled off the coast of the Baja Peninsula over the weekend, bringing some “nice local relief” in the form of rain to Cortez.

“The storm brought a bunch of needed rain across the Southwest, and it did us a lot of good,” said cooperative weather observer Jim Andrus.

According to Andrus, Ivo dumped nearly two inches of rain in Cortez from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 a.m. Monday. He recorded a total of 1.95 inches over the two-day period, including 1.76 inches of rainfall on Sunday.

“There was flooding in Arizona, California, Utah and Colorado,” Andrus said, “and the forecasts calls for the potential of more rain.”

Situated over the Pacific Ocean, Ivo has been downgraded to a tropical depression, but it remained stalled off the coast of Mexico as of press time.

The weekend storm bumped Cortez’s monthly rainfall amount to 2.64 inches. Normal August rainfall in the area is 1.37 inches.

Despite the recent precipitation, annual rainfall remains below average. To date, the area has received 7.59 inches of moisture during 2013. Normal rainfall for the year is 8.27 inches.

“The weekend’s storm was just a single event,” Andrus said. “The drought is still here.”

Andrus said drought conditions would persist until water levels at Lake Mead and Lake Powell return to normal. Both reservoirs remain well below normal levels.

A National Weather Service cooperative weather observer for Cortez for the past 16 years, Andrus said Montezuma County has been experiencing a drought since 1997. While the drought has not been consistent, including three years of above-normal precipitation and two years of near-normal precipitation, Andrus said two-thirds of the past 15 years have experienced below normal levels of precipitation.