Drought concerns have been high this season with 100% of the state ranked “Abnormally Dry” or higher on the Drought Monitor since August 4, 2020. That concern has only continued to grow. As of last week’s drought update on the 20th nearly a quarter of the state, 21.82%, was experiencing Exceptional Drought.
Our recent round of snow, Oct. 25-26, was welcomed and desperately needed to not only combat several large fires currently burning but also to help alleviate some of our drought concerns. Totals ranging from a trace to over 2′ fell and did help crews gain some ground on our fires… unfortunately the snow did little to improve our drought.
A small area of improvement was seen near the N and S I-25 Corridors where some of the Extreme Drought was replaced with areas of Severe Drought. The percentage drop was only 2%.
You might be wondering how this is possible when many areas saw so much snow. You have to think of drought cumulatively… we’ve been building up dry conditions for a long time. Drought numbers have been, for the most part, steadily increasing since October of last year. It takes much more than one good moisture event to chip away at our drought and it will likely take years of consistent “normal” moisture, or one incredibly wet season, to get us back on “drought free” ground. While rounds of snow are needed and welcomed, they’ll have a hard time improving our drought if they are so few and far between. Thanks to our La Nina set up that will likely be the case through the winter.