Less Than 3% of State Abnormally Dry as Colorado Goes Drought-Free

>95% of Colorado drought-free for first time in six years
Pop the champagne! With 97.96% of the state now considered under no drought classification, we'll go ahead and round-up and say Colorado is drought-free. This marks the first time in nearly six years that the more than 95% of the state is classified as experiencing no drought conditions, with August of 2009 being the last time this was true.

Below is a look at the road to drought recovery from March 2013 through July 14, 2015. Today only a small portion of northwest Colorado, and a sliver of southwest Colorado remain in the DO-D4 (Abnormally Dry) category according to the U.S. drought monitor.

Colorado drought recovery, March 2013 - July 2015 | U.S. Drought Monitor

The latest Palmer Drought Severity Index, which takes more conditions into account than the Drought Monitor is equally impressive, with very moist conditions across previously drought-stricken Texas, New Mexico and Colorado.

Palmer Drought Index | July 11, 2015

The height of our latest drought came early in 2012 and extended through the summer of 2013. The devastating floods in September of 2013 dropped statewide drought percentages below 80% for the first time in over a year. Through 2014 we saw statewide drought numbers continue to fall, only to spike once more with poor mountain snowfall this past winter. In recent months record-setting rains have all but completely erased drought conditions statewide.

Percent of Colorado experiencing drought conditions 2009 - 2015 | U.S. Drought Monitor

Those of you that have been following along here at Weather5280 know this recovery was fully expected, but so too is the return to drought before too long. Enjoy this while it lasts.

Over the short-term we're looking at several days of drier weather statewide, but not totally dry. For Denver storm chances will be much lower through Saturday than we've seen for some time, but as the entirety of this summer has gone, storm chances (while decreased) will continue to exist each day. Afternoon highs will also warm with the drier weather, with forecasts highs in Denver in the low 90s through Saturday, before a better chance for storms and cooler temps may arrive by the second half of the weekend.

Brendan Heberton

Brendan is founder of Weather5280. He is co-founder of FreshyMap, and develops software for geospatial data analysis and visualization.

Denver, Colorado
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