Recent precipitation erases #drought in #Colorado

Click here to go to the US Drought Monitor website. Here’s an excerpt:


Soaking precipitation occurred from central portions of the Rockies and Plains into the upper Midwest, mainly from May 16-18, and in parts of the Southeast starting on May 20. Drought-affected areas of the Southeast, including portions of Alabama and Georgia, experienced substantial relief, with rain still falling when the drought-monitoring period ended on May 23. The drought-easing effects of any rain that fell after 8 am EDT on Tuesday, May 23, will be reflected on next week’s map. Farther west, late-season snow (locally 1 to 3 feet) blanketed the northern and central Rockies, while streaks of heavy rain largely arrested drought development in the south-central U.S. Areas that remained stubbornly dry included parts of the north-central U.S. and Florida’s peninsula, although significant rainfall developed in the latter region after the monitoring period ended on May 23…

High Plains

A stripe of heavy precipitation from the central Rockies into the upper Midwest erased pockets of abnormal dryness (D0) in Nebraska and reduced coverage of dryness and moderate drought (D0 and D1) in Colorado. Rain also trimmed D0 coverage in the eastern Dakotas. However, precipitation mostly bypassed the remainder of the Dakotas, leading to further expansion of D0. In addition a new area of moderate drought (D1) was introduced in the vicinity of the Missouri River. On May 21, South Dakota led the entire northern U.S. in topsoil moisture rated very short to short (29%), as well as rangeland and pastures rated very poor to poor (19%), according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture…


Concerns in the West remained minimal, with less than 5% of the 11-state area covered by moderate to extreme drought (D1 to D2). Further, storminess across the central Rockies and environs led to further reduction in the coverage of abnormal dryness (D0) and moderate drought (D1), mainly in Colorado. On May 18-19, Cheyenne, Wyoming, was blanketed with 14.3 inches of snow, while snowfall ranged from 1 to 3 feet at several locations in the central Rockies. Farther south, however, warm, dry, windy conditions necessitated an eastward expansion of D0 across southern New Mexico. On May 21, topsoil moisture in New Mexico was rated 55% very short to short, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. On the same date, rangeland and pastures were rated 29% very poor to poor in Arizona, up 14 percentage points from a week ago, and 23% very poor to poor in New Mexico. Near Globe, Arizona, the Pinal fire—started by lightning on May 8—has burned more than 3,500 acres of timber and chaparral in rugged terrain…

Looking Ahead

A storm system in the vicinity of the central Appalachians on Thursday will drift northeastward, reaching coastal New England by May 26. Meanwhile, a low-pressure system will cross southern Canada, with a disturbance along the storm’s trailing cold front affecting the nation’s mid-section during the Memorial Day holiday weekend. On Friday, soaking rains will end across the Northeast, while showers and thunderstorms will develop from the northern Intermountain West into the lower Midwest. Rain will quickly spread eastward and return to parts of the southern and eastern U.S. during the weekend. Elsewhere, mostly dry weather during the next 5 days will be limited to just a few areas, including California and the Southwest.

The NWS 6- to 10-day outlook for May 30 – June 3 calls for the likelihood of below-normal temperatures from the central and southern Plains to the western slopes of the Appalachians, while warmer-than-normal weather should prevail along the Atlantic Seaboard and across the northern High Plains and much of the West. Odds will be tilted toward near- to above-normal rainfall across most of the country, but drier-than-normal conditions can be expected from the Pacific Northwest into the upper Midwest.

Click on the gallery below to take a look back through time to August 2016 and the start of the recent drought in Colorado.

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