‘Exceptional’ drought expands in western Colorado; northeast sees dry conditions increase

PROMO 660 x 440 Agriculture - Tractor Plow Dust Field Drought - iStock - Dmytro Shestakov
Published Friday, September 21, 2018
PICT - Kiowa County Press Icon
by Chris Sorensen

A week after drought had stabilized in Colorado, conditions degraded dramatically, particularly for the western half of the state.

Mesa and Delta counites, along with northwest Gunnison County, saw extreme drought replaced by exceptional drought - the worst category - as hot and dry conditions persisted in the area.

Parts of northern Colorado's front range counties saw drought-free conditions dip into the abnormally dry category. Northern Lincoln and western Cheyenne counties suffered a similar setback following a week that saw limited to no rain in the area.

2018-09-21_map_colorado_drought_conditions_-_september_18_2018.png

2018-09-21 MAP Colorado Drought Conditions - September 18, 2018
Courtesy National Drought Mitigation Center. September 18, 2018

North central Elbert County, which had been recovering from more severe conditions, saw abnormally dry conditions drop back to moderate drought.

Eastern Cheyenne, Kiowa and Prowers counties, along with central Baca County, showed improvement as drought-free conditions continued to advance toward the west.

Overall, more than 44 percent of the state is in extreme or exceptional drought, the two worst categories.

2018-09-14_map_colorado_drought_conditions_-_september_11_2018.png

MAP Colorado Drought Conditions - September 11, 2018
Courtesy National Drought Mitigation Center. September 11, 2018

Compared to the previous week, 17 percent of the state is drought-free, down from 20 percent. Twelve percent is seeing abnormally dry conditions, up from nine percent. Moderate drought increased slightly to eight percent, while severe drought was steady at 20 percent of the state's area. Extreme drought dropped to 32 percent from 35, while exceptional drought picked up the difference, advancing from 10 percent to 13.

One year ago, 65 percent of Colorado was drought-free, while 31 percent was abnormally dry. Four percent of the state was experiencing moderate drought.

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

Colorado Drought by the Numbers

Week

Date

None

D0

D1

D2

D3

D4

Current

9/18/18

17

12

8

20

32

13

Last Week

9/11/18

20

9

7

20

35

10

3 Months Ago

6/19/18

21

12

16

16

26

8

Start of Calendar Year

12/26/17

7

65

28

0

0

0

Start of Water Year

9/26/17

68

29

4

0

0

0

One Year Ago

9/19/17

65

31

4

0

0

0