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Colorado snowpack off to slow start with most of state in extreme drought

Snowpack impacted by changing weather trends
Posted at 12:44 PM, Dec 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-03 14:44:41-05

DENVER — While snow and cooler weather helped contain the Cameron Peak and East Troublesome fires, all of Colorado remains under drought conditions, with much of the state in extreme or worse conditions.

The drought conditions according to Thursday's drought monitor update were about the same as last week. Colorado's snowpack levels are at 82% of the state's median, with the next winter storm not expected to hit the state until late next week.

In the high country, snowpack levels ranged from 116% of the median in southern Colorado to 72% of the median along Interstate 70 and 75% in the northern mountains.

Colorado will see dry and warmer conditions into the weekend. Late next week, a ridge of Pacific moisture could move into the state, according to the National Weather Service forecast discussion. Forecasters on Thursday were "a bit more pessimistic" about widespread precipitation, though it's Colorado's best chance for snowfall in the short-term.

Colorado has seen several rounds of snow this fall, though the precipitation hasn't been enough to improve drought conditions. Three months ago, about 37% of the state was in extreme drought conditions. That number is now around 75%, and now about 27% of the state is considered to be in exceptional drought conditions, according to the drought monitor.