Weather News

Apr 17, 2014 10:11 AM by Stephen Bowers

Drought Improves; Plains Still Parched

The winter snow and the wetter spring snow has been good for Colorado, especially agriculturally. 

The latest update from the Drought Monitor, released Thursday morning, shows vast improvements in most of the state. The exception is the Lower Arkansas Valley and Southeastern Plains.

Take a look at the map above. The red and deeper maroon shading shows where extreme to exceptional drought levels persist. The improvement is in shrinking size of the area of those highest levels of drought. This time one year ago, more than half of Colorado was within the extreme to exceptional drought range. Compare that to less than 9% of Colorado presently in similar drought conditions. The tan and orange shadings represent drought of moderate to severe levels, and covers much of southern and eastern Colorado. That size is shrinking, too. In mid-April last year, 100% of the state was engulfed in moderate to severe drought conditions. Today, less than half of Colorado is in drought. The yellow shading shows abnormally dry conditions, but not drought.

The improvements are beneficial to helping suppress the wildfire threat, especially if the trend of improvement continues. That is not to say it will completely end the threat for fires. We still have to be be mindful of that existing threat. Unfortunately, the improvements have been less noticeable across the parched Plains, and the dry ground is still a detriment to farmers in that area.

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