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Sep 23, 2011 5:04 AM by Trovette Tottress

Rains ease dry conditions in southeast Colorado

DENVER (AP) - Recent rains have helped ease drought conditions in parts of Colorado, but pockets of the southeast corner of the state are still experiencing severe and extreme drought.

The U.S. Drought Monitor considered the San Luis Valley to be in "exceptional drought" earlier this year, which is the most severe designation on a five-level scale for dry conditions. That designation was lifted from the valley in the latest update to the Drought Monitor this week.

It's still dry, though. Mike Gillespie of the Natural Resources Conservation Service says precipitation in the Rio Grande and Arkansas river basins for the past 11 months has been below average. Reservoir storage levels in those basins also are well below average. Precipitation and reservoir storage elsewhere in the state is above or close to average.

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