From The Kiowa County Press (Chris Sorensen):
One week after Colorado saw the first drought-free area in the state since mid-2020, drought worsened for part of the state according to the latest report from the National Drought Mitigation Center.
The change came in northwest Colorado, where much of Rio Blanco County, and smaller areas in Moffat and Garfield counties slipped from extreme drought into exceptional conditions. Recent higher temperatures – occasionally reaching 80 degrees – along with little moisture over the past week, contributed to the decline. The area also saw red flag warnings for high fire danger.
Much of western Colorado has been in extreme and exceptional drought since late summer.
The remainder of the state remained stable for the week, though late-week moisture may show some additional improvements in the next report. Northeast Colorado received rain during the week, with portions of Logan and Phillips counties falling under flood warnings as late as Thursday morning. There were a few reports of as much as 11 inches of rain in parts of those counties, which contributed to flooding that damaged local roads and closed Highway 59 at one point…
USDA statistics rate more than half of the topsoil short or very short of moisture in Colorado (57%), Montana (57%), and Wyoming (55%), and nearly two-thirds or more so rated in South Dakota (62%) and North Dakota (80%). In Colorado, 32 percent of the winter wheat crop was rated in poor to very poor condition. Several Colorado communities were asked to voluntarily conserve water.
Overall, one percent of the state is drought-free, with an additional 10 percent in abnormally dry conditions, both unchanged from the previous week. Moderate and severe drought were also unchanged at 29 and 28 percent, respectively. Extreme and exceptional conditions swapped, with extreme drought falling to 15 percent from 17, while exceptional drought increased to 17 percent from 15 in the prior week.