Extreme drought expands in southern Colorado

Weather - Drought News Update Recap
Published Saturday, May 16, 2020
PICT - Kiowa County Press Icon
by Chris Sorensen

Just one week after extreme drought returned to Colorado, the impacted area has expanded in the southern portion of the state according to the United States Drought Monitor. The second worst category of drought had left the state in March 2019 before making its return this month.

In the southeast, extreme drought expanded into Crowley, Lincoln and Cheyenne counties, and increased its presence in Baca, Prowers and Kiowa counties.

For the southern Colorado mountain area, extreme conditions expanded in Saguache, Custer, Huerfano and Las Animas counties.

Severe drought expanded north in central and eastern Colorado, replacing moderate conditions. Moderate drought also gave way to abnormally dry conditions in parts of Pitkin, Chaffee and Gunnison counties.

2020-05-16_map_colorado_drought_conditions_-_may_12_2020_-_national_drought_mitigation_center.png

MAP Colorado Drought Conditions - May 12, 2020 - National Drought Mitigation Center
Colorado Drought Conditions - May 12, 2020. Courtesy National Drought Mitigation Center

Portions of eastern Colorado received an inch or more of rain early Saturday morning, potentially minimizing further expansion in the coming week.

Sixty-three percent of the state is in moderate, severe or extreme drought, up two percent from the previous week. The worst drought category, exceptional, was most recently recorded in Colorado in February 2019.

2020-05-08_map_64j1_colorado_drought_conditions_-_may_2_2020_-_national_drought_mitigation_center.jpg

MAP Colorado Drought Conditions - May 2, 2020 - National Drought Mitigation Center
Colorado Drought Conditions - May 2, 2020 - National Drought Mitigation Center

Currently, 15 percent of the state is in extreme drought, up four percent from the prior week. Severe drought increased two percent to 31, while moderate drought dropped four percent to 17. Abnormally dry conditions increased from 14 to 17 percent of the state. Just 21 percent of Colorado is drought-free.

One year ago, 11 percent of Colorado was abnormally dry, while the remaining 89 percent was drought-free.

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 - May 12, 2020

Week

Date

None

D0

D1

D2

D3

D4

Current

5/12/20

21

17

17

31

15

0

Last Week

5/5/20

24

14

21

29

11

0

3 Months Ago

2/11/20

28

28

41

3

0

0

Start of Calendar Year

12/31/19

32

17

31

20

0

0

Start of Water Year

10/1/19

30

42

28

0

0

0

One Year Ago

5/14/19

89

11

0

0

0

0

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