Blizzard bumps Colorado snowpack up, drought down

Weather

The strong spring-like storm that produced strong thunderstorms with heavy rain, and blizzard conditions with heavy snow, made a big impact on the drought over the eastern half of Colorado.

The United States Department of Agriculture measures and calculates drought conditions each week, and we already see what significant storms can do.

Below is a list of how much water fell as a combination of melted snow and rain reports through the weekend in southern Colorado. Reports are a combination of National Weather ServiceCoCoRahs Observers, and viewer reports to FOX21 News.

  • 2.07″ – Black Forest
  • 1.69″ – Woodland Park
  • 1.61″ – Austin Bluffs
  • 1.61″ – Lamar
  • 1.54″ – Eads
  • 1.50″ – Two Buttes
  • 1.49″ – Rockrimmon
  • 1.35″ – Monument
  • 1.34″ – Briargate
  • 1.30″ – Florissant
  • 1.19″ – Springfield
  • .95″ – Broadmoor
  • .92″ – Platte & Powers
  • .86″ – Manitou Springs
  • .85″ – Downtown Colorado Springs
  • .83″ – Rye
  • .82″ – Pueblo West
  • .76″ – Cripple Creek
  • .75″ – Falcon
  • .75″ – Pueblo
  • .70″ – Westcliffe
  • .58″ – Walsenburg
  • .70″ – Trinidad
Push the slider to the right to see the drought conditions prior to the weekend storm. Push the slider to the left to see the changes after the storm.

The March 9 Drought Monitor had nearly 57% of the state in either extreme or exceptional drought, the highest two categories, respectively. The Drought Monitor released Thursday morning shows a 20% improvement, with only 38% of the state now in the deepest drought categories.

The table below shows how much of how drought conditions have changed over the last year. In March 2020, no part of Colorado had a deep drought, and 30% of the state had water surplus conditions.

WeekDateNoneD0-D4D1-D4D2-D4D3-D4D4
Current2021-03-160.00100.0095.7671.4738.6415.10
Last Week2021-03-090.00100.0098.5788.7656.6415.89
3 Months Ago2020-12-150.00100.00100.0093.7376.1727.60
Start of Calendar Year2020-12-290.00100.00100.0093.7376.1727.60
One Year Ago2020-03-1730.0969.9146.883.300.000.00

Snowpack increased 7% across the state after the weekend storm. A number of mountain areas east of the Continental Divide received more than two feet of moisture-laden snow, and as a result, the South Platte River basin in northeast Colorado and the Arkansas River basin in southern Colorado are both at or above average.

The lowest snowpack in the state is in the southwestern corner, while the adjacent Upper Rio Grande basin leads the way.

Statewide, the snowpack is 92% of average.

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