DENVER (CBS4) – The drought that quickly developed along Colorado’s Front Range last summer and contributed to a terrible 2020 wildfire season has been almost wiped out in recent weeks. All that remains is “abnormally dry” areas on the south and east sides of the Denver metro area.

The last time the drought map looked so good for Denver and the Front Range was during the first week of July 2020. As of this week, only the southeast corner of the metro area still has bona fide drought including parts of Aurora and Parker.

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Unfortunately, drought has seen virtually zero improvement for areas west of Vail Pass. Extreme and exceptional drought, which are the two worse drought categories, continues across almost all of the Western Slope.

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A quick comparison of liquid precipitation so far this year (including melted snow) between eastern and western Colorado explains why.

Liquid since January 1:
Denver: 7.61″
Craig: 3.07″
Durango: 2.56″
Rifle: 2.10″
Grand Junction: 2.02″
Montrose: 1.75″

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Looking forward, dry weather will dominate Colorado on Thursday and most of Friday. Temperatures will also become much warmer with highs in the 70s along the Front Range on Thursday and then 80s on Friday.

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Then a good chance for showers and thunderstorms will return to much of Colorado (but unfortunately not much west of Vail Pass again) starting Saturday. The precipitation forecast for Saturday through Wednesday next week shows the potential for well over 1 inch of rain again for many areas around Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins and more than 2 inches possible in the foothills including any melted snow.

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The next round of rain will add to already extremely impressive liquid totals along the Front Range this year. In the last three weeks, Denver has officially received over 2.5 inches of rain and the total for the year is over 7.5 inches. It’s currently the wettest year on record in Denver since 1944.

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It will also turn cooler over the weekend with highs only in the 50s in metro Denver on Mother’s Day. The best chance for rain on Sunday will wait until the afternoon and evening.

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Meteorologist Ashton Altieri