Drought Continues to Deepen in Colorado Despite Improvements in the Northeast

PROMO 660 x 440 Drought - Cracked Mud Cloud - iStock
Published Thursday, May 24, 2018
PICT - Kiowa County Press Icon
by Chris Sorensen

Despite the start of spring thunderstorms, Colorado's drought situation continued to deteriorate. One-third of the state is in the two worst categories of drought.

Some areas showed improvements, with the northeast and north central areas continuing to lead that trend as the area benefitted from moderate to heavy rain, with some locations receiving up to three inches of rain.

2018-05-24_map_colorado_drought_conditions_may_22_2018.png

MAP Colorado Drought Conditions May 22, 2018
Courtesy National Drought Mitigation Center - May 22, 2018

Morgan county moved into drought-free conditions, while parts of Elbert, Lincoln, Cheyenne and Kiowa counties shifted to moderate drought from severe. Northern Douglas county is now abnormally dry, an improvement from moderate drought last week.

Extreme drought expanded northward over the southeast plains to cover the remainder of Otero and most of Bent county. Extreme conditions expanded into Crowley county, as well as a larger part of Pueblo county. Fremont and El Paso counties saw severe drought overtake areas previously in moderate conditions.

Minor changes were observed in northwest Colorado.

2018-05-18_map_colorado_drought_conditions_may_15_2018.png

MAP Colorado Drought Conditions May 15, 2018
Courtesy National Drought Mitigation Center - May 15, 2018

Overall, more than one-fifth of the state is drought-free, a slight improvement over the previous week. Abnormally dry and moderate drought conditions also decreased slightly to about 14 percent each. Moderate drought dropped to about 17 percent of the state, while extreme drought increased to nearly 26 percent, both changing roughly three percent over the prior report. Exceptional drought was steady at about eight percent.

One year ago, 94 percent of Colorado was drought-free, while about six percent was abnormally dry.

Drought classes include (ranked from least to most severe) D0 - abnormally dry, D1 - moderate, D2 - severe, D3 - extreme, and D4 - exceptional drought.

Colorado Drought by the Numbers

Week

Date

None

D0

D1

D2

D3

D4

Current

5/22/18

21

14

14

17

26

8

Last Week

5/15/18

20

14

14

20

23

8

3 Months Ago

2/20/18

9

20

38

26

8

0

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

5/23/17

94

6

0

0

0

0