Strong storms are expected to impact northeast and east central Colorado Friday afternoon, bringing wind gusts up to 80 miles per hour, baseball size hail, and some risk for tornadoes.
After a week that showed a drought conditions dramatically degradeacross Colorado, a small area showed slight improvement in the central part of the state.
Southern Jefferson County, along with slivers of Park and Douglas counties, moved into abnormally dry conditions, an improvement from moderate drought.
While portions of southeast Colorado border counties showed some improvement in drought conditions, a new area of "exceptional drought" - the worst category - appeared elsewhere in the region.
Eastern Kiowa, Prowers and Baca counties showed improvement over the previous week, moving to moderate and severe drought. A small portion of northeast Kiowa County shifted into abnormally dry conditions, while much of Baca County has shed extreme drought over the past month as early summer storms continue to bring much-needed moisture to the area.
Now is the time to prepare for the high temperatures that kill hundreds of people every year. Extreme heat causes more than 600 deaths each year. Heat-related deaths and illness are preventable, yet many people still die from extreme heat every year.
Take measures to stay cool, remain hydrated, and keep informed. Getting too hot can make you sick. You can become ill from the heat if your body can't compensate for it and properly cool you off. The main things affecting your body's ability to cool itself during extremely hot weather are:
As fires scorched more than 200,000 acres in Colorado, drought conditions deteriorated for part of the state.
Abnormally dry conditions expanded in western Larimer county, while moderate drought returned to northern Routt County, along with smaller portions of Moffat and Jackson counties.
Conditions in the remainder of the state remained stable, with more than one-third of Colorado in extreme over exceptional conditions, the two worst catagories.
Lack of rain and increasing summer temperatures contributed to worsening drought conditions in central and southwest Colorado over the past week.
Severe drought expanded north across northern Fremont and southern Chaffee, Park and Teller counties, while extreme conditions also advanced to cover Custer and Pueblo counties, along with southern Fremont and El Paso counties. Extreme drought also spread in Delta and Mesa counties.
The National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for eastern Colorado counties, which will remain in effect until 8:00 p.m. Friday.
Wind gusts could reach 75 miles per hour, with potential for hail up to 2.5 inches in diameter, in areas where storms form. Tornadoes are also possible.
Shortly after noon Friday, radar showed a line of storms across central and northeast Colorado, which are expected to move toward the southeast as the day progresses.
Colorado counties covered by the watch include
Southeast Colorado counties along the border with Kansas saw some improvement in drought conditions over the past week.
Eastern Baca, Prowers and Kiowa counties saw extreme drought pull away from the border, dropping to severe conditions. A narrow portion of north central Kiowa County along with parts of southern Cheyenne County moved to moderate drought from severe conditions. A similar improvement was also noted in central Lincoln County.