While western #Colorado suffers, #drought fully exits the eastern plains — The Kiowa County Press

From The Kiowa County Press (Chris Sorensen):

Colorado’s western slope remains trapped in extreme and exceptional drought while the eastern plains and portions of the San Luis Valley and northern front range have moved to drought-free conditions. More than half of the state is now listed as drought-free.

Colorado Drought Monitor map June 1, 2021.

This week, parts of east central and southeast Colorado which were abnormally dry last week shifted to become free from drought. Some areas received as much as 150 percent of their normal rainfall for the week according to the National Drought Mitigation Center.

A strip of moderate drought in southern Las Animas County is now abnormally dry.

Improvements in the eastern half of the state began in mid-March as significant snow provided initial relief. During May, thunderstorms continued to bring rain to Colorado’s eastern plains, resulting in drought-free conditions for most northeast counties by the end of the month.

Colorado Drought Monitor one week change map ending June 1, 2021.

The first drought-free area in Colorado since mid-2020 appeared in late April.

The USDA noted that crop conditions continued to improve following recent moisture. Western counties have received little recent rain, and have experienced windy conditions. Red flag warnings from the National Weather Service have regularly been issued for high fire danger. Area reservoirs are at extremely low levels, limiting options for crop irrigation.

Overall, 51 percent of the state is drought-free, up from 34 percent last week, with an additional six percent in abnormally dry conditions, down from 20 percent in the previous week. Moderate drought covers eight percent of Colorado, down from 11 percent, while severe drought remains unchanged at six percent. Extreme and exceptional drought were also unchanged at 13 and 16 percent, respectively.

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