DENVER (CBS4) – The latest update from the U.S. Drought Monitor released Thursday morning showed the entire state of Colorado in some stage of drought. Last week a small portion of northern Colorado was still drought-free.
The worst conditions remain in the western and southern counties where widespread areas of extreme drought can be found. Pockets of extreme drought have also developed on the eastern plains in recent weeks.
August is usually when we see the peak of monsoon activity across the state. The monsoon is a seasonal shift in the wind pattern which transports tropical moisture into the Rocky Mountains. That moisture combines with daytime heating to produce widespread showers and storms on most days.
But this year the upper wind patterns have been positioned in a way that hasn’t allowed much tropical moisture to reach Colorado. To date we’ve only had a handful of “monsoon” days with widespread showers and thunderstorms.
The latest 8-14 day outlook from NOAA calls for a good chance to see drier-than-normal conditions in Colorado as we move into the middle of August. Temperatures are also expected to remain above normal on most days.
Experts say drought will persist across our state as we move into the fall season which is historically one of the driest times of the year. That news isn’t good with the possibility of La Niña developing this winter.
A La Niña weather pattern can sometimes lead to an inconsistent winter storm track for the western United States. In Colorado that can translate to a lower-than-average snowfall in some mountain areas.