Early week storm brings big drought improvements

Weather

Our latest round of rain and snow in Southern Colorado, Monday and Tuesday, has brought some big improvements to Colorado’s drought. Nearly all of these changes have been realized on the east side of the Rockies. You can see the big differences between the May 4, 2021 Drought Monitor and the most recent update as of May 11:

May 4 to May 11 drought update
Drought Monitor key

One of the most noticeable changes in the increase in the “no classification” area of the map. On May 4 only 7.84% of the state was off the Drought Monitor. As of May 11 that number is now 13.05%. This area is drought free and not at an immediate risk of returning to drought conditions if we see a decrease in moisture. The “Abnormally Dry” category is also a drought free designation, but these areas are still at a risk of returning to drought and in need of more moisture. With that in mind, now about 25% of the state is considered to be drought free! This is nearly a 5% increase from May 4.

The highest levels of drought, Exceptional and Extreme, still cover most of western Colorado. 29.45% of the state is still considered to be in Exceptional or Extreme drought. In S Colorado, only a small portion of Extreme drought is still with us thanks to the recent moisture. The SE Plains saw huge improvements in Severe levels of drought as well. Severe drought dropped 8.58% from May 4 to May 11 with all of that improvement located in the SE Plains.

The forecast calls for more rain in Southern Colorado over the next week. Storms will become more likely over the weekend with more organized rain by Monday. This should continue to improve drought conditions locally.

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