The latest drought monitor update, released Thursday and valid as of Tuesday, shows increased drought levels for most of Colorado.
There has been very little in the way of improvement since Aug. 18, with hot and overall dry weather leading to levels of Severe and Extreme drought expanding for most of the region.
The percent of Severe or higher drought has climbed to 93.29% from 72.69% on Aug. 18. This has overtaken areas of Moderate drought, one of the lower levels on the drought monitor.
The highest level of drought, Exceptional, has reappeared on the Eastern Plains.
Colorado previously saw an area of Exceptional drought on the Southeastern Plains in the June 30 update. That area saw quick improvement with the levels dropping to Extreme in the next update. Colorado has been free of Exceptional drought until now.
The heat, along with a general lack of widespread rain, has been a big factor in Colorado’s increasing drought levels. The number of 90-degree or hotter days in the Springs is at 47 as of Aug. 27, only two days away from 2012’s record, 49.
The heat isn’t the only thing Colorado’s summer of 2020 has in common with 2012. 2012/2013 was also the last time 100% of the state was covered by Abnormally Dry or higher categories on the drought monitor. That’s what the state is seeing now.