Weather - Drought News Update Recap

Severe and moderate drought expand in Colorado

Drought news and updates for Colorado.
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Chris Sorensen

A week after showing some improvement, severe drought has again expanded in southeast Colorado according to the latest report from the National Drought Mitigation Center.

Two weeks ago, nearly all of Prowers County moved from moderate to severe drought conditions. Last week, recent rains pulled most of the county back to moderate drought, though the far east side of the county remained in severe conditions.

Map of Colorado drought conditions as of May 28, 2024 - National Drought Mitigation Center

Map of Colorado drought conditions as of May 28, 2024 - National Drought Mitigation Center

Severe drought has once again expanded in Prowers County, stretching into northwest Baca County. Moderate drought also grew to encompass nearly all of nearby Bent County, and reach into Otero and Las Animas Counties.

In southwest Colorado, moderate conditions also expanded for Archuleta, La Plata, and Montezuma counties, and now includes a portion of southern Dolores County.

Northeast Colorado saw abnormally dry conditions in Weld County grow to include much of western Larimer County and the northeast corner of Morgan County.

Overall, 61 percent of Colorado is drought-free, down from 63 percent in the previous week, while an addition 23 percent is abnormally dry, down from 25 percent. Moderate drought increased from 12 to 15 percent, while severe drought is at one percent, up from less than one-half percent last week. Extreme and exceptional conditions are not impacting the state.

Just over 143,000 people in the state live in a drought-impacted area. Colorado’s 2023 population was estimated at 5,877,610.

One year ago, 76 percent of Colorado was drought-free, while 17 percent was abnormally dry. Five percent of the state was experiencing moderate drought, with one percent of the state in severe conditions. Extreme drought had receded from the state. None of Colorado was in exceptional drought - the worst category.

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

Colorado Drought Percentages for May 28, 2024

Week Date None D0 D1 D2 D3 D4
Current 5/28/24 61 23 15 1 0 0
Last Week to Current 5/21/24 63 25 12 0 0 0
3 Months Ago to Current 2/27/24 63 26 7 4 0 0
Start of Calendar Year to Current 12/26/23 37 37 17 7 2 0
Start of Water Year to Current 9/26/23 66 17 15 3 0 0
One Year Ago to Current 5/30/23 76 17 5 1 0 0