‘Exceptional’ Drought Enters Colorado, Blizzard Provides Some Relief

PROMO 660 x 440 Drought - Cracked Mud Cloud - iStock
Published Friday, April 20, 2018
PICT - Kiowa County Press Icon
by Chris Sorensen

Northeast Colorado saw some continued improvement in drought conditions following a blizzard last weekend while four counties in the southwest corner continued rapid deterioration.

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MAP Colorado Drought Conditions April 17, 2018
Courtesy National Drought Mitigation Center - April 17, 2018

Exceptional drought, the worst category, now covers all of Montezuma county, along with most of La Plata county. Far west Archuleta and southern Dolores counties have also dropped into exceptional drought.

In the northeast corner of the state where a blizzard was paralyzing the area a week ago, Logan county and northern Washington county moved to drought-free conditions. Parts of western Weld and Morgan counties saw a similar improvement.

Extreme drought receded slightly in southern Las Animas county. Most of the remainder of the state was unchanged from the previous week.

Overall, nearly 16 percent of the state was drought-free, a substantial improvement from three months ago when less than one percent of the state was escaping drought conditions. Fifteen percent of the state is abnormally dry, compared to 18 percent last week. Moderate drought covers more than 15 percent of Colorado and severe drought impacts slightly more than 29 percent, largely unchanged compared to the past week.

Extreme drought dropped below 21 percent as nearly four percent of the state moved into exceptional drought. Another area of extreme drought currently falls just outside of Colorado's border, covering portions of Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico.

One year ago, nearly 90 percent of the state was drought-free or abnormally dry, while the remainder was experiencing moderate drought.

Drought categories include (ranked from least to most severe) abnormally dry, moderate, severe, extreme, and exceptional drought.

Maps courtesy National Drought Mitigation Center. Top: April 17, 2018. Bottom: April 10, 2018.