DENVER (CBS4) – Despite recent snow events in the mountains, drought in the state continues to worsen with more than a quarter of Colorado now experiencing exceptional drought. It’s the driest the state has been in 18 years.
The weekly drought update released Thursday morning showed no change with the percentage of Colorado classified with at least moderate drought (100%), severe drought (94%) or extreme drought (74%). But coverage of exceptional drought — the worse drought category — increased from 25% to 27% in the last seven days.
The last time so much of Colorado had exceptional drought was in July 2002 when the Hayman Fire burned nearly 138,000 acres in Douglas, Jefferson, Park, and Teller counties.
The moisture summary for this year in Denver helps explain the problem. The city is below normal for the month, the season, and the year. In a city that only averages about 15 inches of moisture a year, Denver has received received 7.73 inches with only 43 left in 2020.
There is better news when it comes to early season snowpack in the state. The statewide average is currently 99% of average for November 19. Some basins like Gunnison are certainly running below average while others like the Upper Rio Grande are far above normal.
If snowpack is able to remain healthy into early next year, it should eventually help improve the drought numbers.
Meanwhile, some more snow is possible is likely the mountains Friday night into Saturday but amounts will be light. Generally 1 to 4 inches above 9,000 feet.
The vast majority of the moisture will stop short of reaching Denver and the Front Range but there is a slight chance for a quick rain or snow shower in the Denver metro area on Saturday.