While drought conditions across Colorado were mostly stable over the past week, extreme drought expanded in the southeast, with Kiowa county bearing most of the impact.
While over one-third of Colorado remains in extreme or exceptional drought, parts of the state showed improvements following spring thunderstorms.
Northeast Colorado continues to benefit from late spring rains as conditions improved in Clear Creek, Gilpin, Jefferson, Broomfield, Weld, Adams, Denver, Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert, Washington, Lincoln, Kit Carson and Cheyenne counties. The improving counties saw drought conditions disappear or shift to abnormally dry conditions.
Hot - but perhaps not dry - conditions will dominate the unofficial kickoff to summer for Kiowa County this weekend.
Low 90s are expected Saturday under sunny skies. Afternoon wind will be out of the south in the 20 to 25 mile per hour range with some gusts up to 35 mph. Winds will decrease slightly overnight as temperatures drop into the low to mid-60s.
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.
Scientists have developed a detailed analysis of how 22 recent hurricanes would be different if they formed under the conditions predicted for the late 21st century.
While each storm's transformation would be unique, on balance, the hurricanes would become a little stronger, a little slower-moving, and a lot wetter.
In one example, Hurricane Ike -- which killed more than 100 people and devastated parts of the U.S. Gulf Coast in 2008 -- could have 13 percent stronger winds, move 17 percent slower, and be 34 percent wetter if it formed in a future, warmer climate.
While southwest Colorado continues to suffer under the worst category of drought conditions, the northeast portion of the state showed improvement following an increase in spring rain and thunderstorms.
Abnormally dry conditions continued to recede from the northeast, leaving more than 20 percent of the state free from drought. Moderate drought was also in decline for Adams, Arapahoe and northern Elbert county, moving those areas into abnormally dry conditions. Severe drought dropped to moderate conditions in parts of Elbert and Lincoln counties.
Nearly one-third of Colorado remains within the two worst categories of drought as portions of the southwest corner shift from extreme to exceptional drought.
Exceptional drought, the worst category, has been impacting all of Montezuma, much of La Plata and portions of Dolores and Archuleta counties since April. With the latest update, the remainder of Dolores county moved to exceptional, along with much of San Miguel and parts of San Juan and Montrose counties.
The first weekend in May has arrived with a forecast perfect for outdoor activities. Unlike recent weeks, the risk for fire is lower despite drought conditions that continue to plague most of the state. Localized fire danger will continue through week, so be careful with any outdoor burning.
A few isolated showers and thunderstorms are possible across most of the Colorado Saturday. The most likely areas to see precipitation will be the north central mountains and north central plains.