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100% of Colorado now experiencing drought conditions a year after the state was drought-free

Drought creeps into final parts of state that had been untouched
Posted at 1:56 PM, Aug 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-06 15:56:51-04

DENVER – One-hundred percent of Colorado is experiencing some form of drought as of this week – a stark contrast to when the state was nearly drought-free a year ago.

The U.S. Drought Monitor’s weekly update on Thursday shows that all of Colorado is now at least abnormally dry, with 86% of the state experiencing at minimum moderate drought conditions.

The drought, which has continually expanded since a year ago, has now crept into the portions of northern Colorado that had so far been spared as drought spread throughout the state this year. Three months ago, three-quarters of the state was experiencing drought of some sort.

On Aug. 6, 2019, just 5% of the state was abnormally dry and no parts of the state were experiencing any more-extreme drought conditions. That came after 14 straight weeks of drought-free conditions in Colorado. By Oct. 1, 70% of the state was abnormally dry, and the drought persisted through winter before expanding in the spring, according to the Drought Monitor data.

Now, most of the southern half of Colorado is experiencing at least severe drought, with extreme drought conditions across the southern third of the state and portions of the Eastern Plains.

Most of the northern half of the state is experiencing moderate drought, with some pockets seeing less-severe conditions. Severe drought also persists in the corenrs of Denver, Arapahoe, Douglas and Jefferson counties.

Richard Heim, the author of the Drought Monitor, said last week it will take several years of steady rain for Colorado to return to the levels it saw in 2019.

New Mexico (99.6%), Utah (98.7%) and Nevada (98.9%) are all also experiencing drought across nearly their entire state land masses.