Colorado drought conditions were wholly unchanged from the previous week as improvements in the western part of the state halted. While chances of an El Nino continue to increase, the weather pattern is not expected to bring significant relief.
Western and southeastern Colorado saw additional improvements in drought conditions over the past week.
In the west central area, Mesa County and northwest Montrose County moved from extreme to severe drought. Both counties were covered by extreme and exceptional conditions two weeks ago before the remnants of Hurricane Rosa brought welcome rains.
Eastern Colorado will see its first noticeable snow storm of the season Sunday. Wind and blowing snow are expected across the region, with temperatures staying below freezing throughout the day.
The National Weather Service office in Pueblo has issued a winter storm warning for all of Las Animas and Huerfano counties, along with portions of Costilla, Alamosa, Saguache, Custer, Pueblo, Fremont and Chaffee counties. The warning will be in effect until 6:00 a.m. Monday for the southern portion of the region. Northern areas can expect the warning to end around 9:00 p.m. Sunday.
The effects of rain last week from the remnants of Hurricane Rosa appeared as dramatic improvements this week for drought conditions in western Colorado. The southeast corner of the state also saw drought continue to recede.
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is reminding drivers to brush off their winter driving hats and prepare for snowy conditions Sunday. Winter weather and winter driving will be back in full swing before we know it and we will all be better off if we take time to prepare.
Despite rain in western Colorado this week, half of the state remains in the two worst drought categories. Most of the southwest quarter of the state is in exceptional drought, with much of the remainder of western Colorado in extreme conditions. Neighboring portions of Utah, Arizona and New Mexico are experiencing similar drought issues and, collectively, are under worst drought impacts in the United States.
Reflecting recent warm, dry weather in the state, western Colorado saw expansion of the worst drought categories, while dry conditions grew in the northeast.
Exceptional drought expanded further east a week after it had advanced to the north into Mesa and Delta counties. This week's increases now cover all of Ouray and Archuleta counties and most of Hinsdale and Mineral counties. Southwest Gunnison County and western Conejos County also moved into exceptional conditions.
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.