Western Colorado sees drought relief

Weather

Western Colorado has been dealing with high levels of Extreme to Exceptional Drought, our highest levels of drought on the Drought Monitor, since early September of 2020. There has been very little change for the better at any point since then until recent weeks despite Eastern Colorado returning to mostly Drought Free levels in late May 2021.

As of the latest Drought Monitor update, released Thursday, Western Colorado has finally seen a large reduction in drought levels across the board:

Compare July 20, 2021 to Aug 3, 2021

Monsoon moisture has delivered much-needed rain to Western Colorado over the last two weeks. The changes from July 20 to August 3 are very noticeable with our highest level of drought, Exceptional, dropping from 18.32% to 6.38% of the state.

WeekNoneDry or higherModerate or higherSevere or higherExtreme or higherExceptional
July 20, 202154.43%45.57%41.02%36.23%28.15%18.32%
August 3, 202156.64%43.36%34.52%29.61%20.96%6.38%
Change2.21%-2.21-6.50-6.62-7.19-11.94

Across the Western Slope rain totals for the month of July were near or above average for most of the area, although not all, and much needed. Below is a list of rain totals and the departure from average:

Grand Junction: .5″/-.09″
Montrose: 1.04″/+.24″
Durango: 2.74″/+1.51″
Aspen: 1.08″/-.56″
Meeker: 1.06″/+0″

While the drought is improving, there is still a long way to go to get back to drought-free levels. 41.57% of the state, all over Western Colorado, is still experiencing moderate drought or worse. The long-range outlook shows a return to lower than average precipitation values from August to October as the monsoon season winds down September into October:

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