#Drought news: The eastern plains are bone dry

Colorado Drought Monitor March 7 2017.

From TheDenverChannel.com (Blair Miller):

The latest figures from the U.S. Drought Monitor show the entire eastern half of the state is abnormally dry, and that portions of each county east of the Rockies are experiencing moderate drought conditions.

Much of Lincoln County is also experiencing severe drought conditions.

And in Colorado’s southeastern-most county, Baca County, the gamut of drought conditions is present: The western half of the county is abnormally dry, but as one goes into the southeastern portions of the county, conditions go to moderate, severe and extreme drought…

The monitor estimates 3.6 million people in Colorado are under drought conditions.

A year ago, 86 percent of the state was experiencing no drought conditions.

To contrast, the mountain basins are still above 100 percent snowpack for the year after bouts of heavy snow in January.

The dry weather has led to more than a dozen fires across the Front Range in the past two months, and comes ahead of the normal fire and flood season.

But Colorado is prone to fires and flooding year-round, and snow melt runoff and rain storms can create flooding quickly, especially in areas with recent burn scars from wildfires. The National Weather Service says that just a half-inch of run on a burn scar can lead to devastating flooding.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency estimates that 65,000 homes and 15,000 commercial and business buildings sit within Colorado’s floodplains.

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