The recent wet weather has done wonders in reducing the drought on the east side of the Rockies. As of the latest update most of NE Colorado has completely fallen off of the drought monitor and most of S Colorado has moved into the Drought Monitor’s “Abnormally Dry” category.

Slide to compare May 11 and May 18 Drought Monitor updates

Abnormally dry conditions are technically a drought-free category but classify the area as still coming out of drought with lingering impacts. This means the area is still in need of moisture to return to normal and could be at risk of falling back into drought if moisture does not continue to move into the area.

Currently, Southern Colorado only has a few small areas of Severe to Moderate drought left in the region. The latest Drought Monitor update shows that about 48% of the state has fallen off of the Drought Monitor or classified as Abnormally Dry.

What about the other 52% of the state? Unfortunately the Western Slopes have missed out on most of the recent moisture that has moved into the state and have seen little to no change over the last several months. About 39% of the state is still suffering from Severe drought or worse… about 40% of that drought stricken area is experiencing Exceptional drought, the highest level on the Drought Monitor. Nearly all of that area is over Western Colorado.

Looking at the change in the Drought Monitor from early April to now, you can see the stagnant conditions over the Western Slopes:

A look at drought progression from April 6 to May 18

What is the outlook moving forward? While the moisture over the last couple of weeks has brought big improvements to our drought, we cannot expect it to continue at the same intensity moving forward. Long term outlooks for June, July, and August predict warmer and drier than average conditions: