#Drought news: #Colorado has seen a big improvement over mid-February conditions

From The Colorado Sun (Jesse Paul):

As the snowpack runoff season begins, Colorado’s drought situation has dramatically improved again. In the past three months, the areas on the drought map marked abnormally dry or worse have shrunk by 88%.

On Feb. 12, 92% of the state was under some kind of drought status, including the most severe “exceptional drought” rating. On Thursday, the U.S. Drought Monitor reported that just 11% of Colorado is abnormally dry, but that no area is under a “drought” listing…

But [Cari Bowen] cautioned that things could change if there are a few weeks of dry weather.

“It’s all kind of pattern based,” she said. “Drought is not always something that’s fixed in the short term. It’s a long-term thing.”

That being said, early signs are pointing to some big improvements.

Reservoir storage levels in much of the state, which were giving farmers heartburn last summer, are looking solid. Only reservoirs in the southwest corner of Colorado remain far below their average levels, holding just a sliver of their capacity.

Statewide, reservoirs are at 90% of their average fill level and holding 53% of their capacity. Compared to last year’s average, reservoirs at are 111%…

Bowen said the late storms and relatively cool temperatures in the high country have helped keep the runoff season from ramping up too quickly to be captured.

“That definitely does push back that melting a little bit,” she said.

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