By Meteorologist Ashton Altieri

DENVER (CBS4) – Significant rain in parts of Colorado over the last week has helped further improve drought conditions. But 37% of the state is still experiencing at least moderate drought.

The weekly drought update released Thursday morning showed all drought categories improving in Colorado. The most significant change was in northwest Colorado where extreme and exceptional drought has plagued the region that includes Craig, Glenwood Springs, and Steamboat Springs since August 2020.

(source: CBS)

As of this week, just under 4% of Colorado is experiencing exceptional drought which is down from more than 27% last December. Extreme drought now covers 15% of the state which is down from 76% late last year.

Fortunately, many of the areas of the state where drought has been the slowest to improve were getting more rain early Thursday including in Routt, Moffat, and Rio Blanco Counties.

Market Street with wet pavement in downtown Meeker Thursday morning (source”

There has also been a lot of rain recently in northeast Colorado where moderate drought continues but could be wiped out in upcoming drought updates. The town of Holyoke in Phillips County in the far northeast corner of the state has reported more than 4 inches of rain in the last 7 days.

(source: CBS)

The town of Iliff which is northeast of Sterling received more than 2 inches of rain during just a few hours early Thursday morning.

Lightning in Iliff early Thursday morning (source: CBS4 Weather Watcher Dakota McGee)

Meanwhile, recent precipitation has been far less for Denver and the Front Range. However, the Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins areas have a 30% chance for showers and thunderstorms during the afternoon and evening on Thursday.

(source: CBS)

Severe thunderstorms are not expected in the Denver metro area but some storms could turn severe as they move east across the plains late Thursday. Many of the same areas that have experienced very heavy rain in recent days could again see heavy rain along with hail up to 1 inch in diameter and wind gusts up to 60 mph.

(source: CBS)

After the chance for rain ends in Denver late Thursday evening, there are no chances above 10% through early next week.

Meteorologist Ashton Altieri