By Meteorologist Ashton Altieri

DENVER (CBS4) – The latest drought monitor released since the historic blizzard that hit Colorado earlier this month shows more promising news for most of the state. The exception is the Western Slope.

At the start of March, 99% of Colorado had at least moderate drought, 89% of the state was experiencing at least severe drought, and 56% of Colorado had at least extreme drought. Since the snowstorm that brought record snow to parts of the state on March 13-14, all of these drought numbers have improved.

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The weekly drought monitor released Thursday morning showed the most improvement with the severe and extreme drought categories including the complete elimination of extreme drought from the urban corridor.

(source: CBS)

Here are the current drought statistics:

Moderate Drought: covers 93% of the state, down 6% in the last 2 weeks
Severe Drought: covers 62% of the state, down 27% in the last 2 weeks
Extreme Drought: covers 32% of the state, down 25% in the last 2 weeks
Exceptional Drought: covers 15% of the state, no change in the last 2 weeks

All of the exceptional drought (the worse possible drought category) is confined to the Western Slope where precipitation this month has been far less compared to other regions of the state. For example, Montrose has received only 0.27 inches of liquid precipitation since March 1. Denver has received 3.67 inches in that same time.

In fact, March 2021 is currently the second wettest March on record going back to 1872. The record is 4.56 inches in 1983. This month is also tied with March 1944 for the second snowiest March on record. The record is 35.2 inches in 2003 so it would take just 2.8 more inches of snow to set a new record.

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(source: CBS)

Fortunately, the next storm taking aim at Colorado will bring more moisture to parts of western Colorado than anywhere else in the state.

The San Juan Mountains, the Uncompahgre Plateau, and the Grand Mesa areas will get at least 5-10 inches of snow and are under a Winter Weather Advisory through 6 p.m. Friday

(source: CBS)

These are area also suffering the lowest snowpack in the state compared to normal for late March.

(source: CBS)

For Denver and the Front Range, this latest storm could bring drizzle or flurries Thursday night followed by mainly rain showers on Friday. It’s possible some snow could also be mixed in with the rain on Friday for some minor slushy accumulation. But most accumulation will stay above 6,000 feet with up to 4 inches in the foothills and up to 6 inches above 10,000 feet.

(source: CBS)

Much warmer and drier weather will finally arrives for the weekend.

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Meteorologist Ashton Altieri