Weather - Drought News Update Recap

Drought shifts across southern Colorado

Drought news and updates for Colorado.
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Chris Sorensen

Editor's note: This article was updated June 2, 2024 to correct last year's percentages for severe, extreme, and exceptional drought in the second to last paragraph.

The most recent update from the Nation Drought Mitigation Center shows changes in southern Colorado’s drought conditions, including an area of improvement in the southeast following recent storms.

Two weeks ago, nearly all of Prowers County moved from moderate to severe drought conditions. This week, recent rains pulled most of the county back to moderate drought, though the far east side of the county is still in severe conditions.

Map of Colorado drought conditions as of May 21, 2024 - National Drought Mitigation Center

Map of Colorado drought conditions as of May 21, 2024 - National Drought Mitigation Center

The San Luis Valley and surrounding areas have also seen improvements, moving from abnormally dry conditions to drought-free. Southern Conejos and Costilla counties were in moderate drought, and have largely moved to drought-free conditions over the two week period.

Montezuma County in the southwest has seen much of its area drop into moderate drought from being abnormally dry. Further north, portions of Garfield and Mesa counties saw the opposite movement, shifting from moderate drought to abnormally dry.

In northeast Colorado, portions of Larimer, Weld, and far northwest Morgan counties entered abnormally dry conditions.

Overall, 63 percent of the state is drought-free, up from 60 percent in the previous week, while an additional 25 percent is abnormally dry, down six percent. Moderate drought continues to impact 12 percent of Colorado up from eight percent. Severe drought dropped from one percent to a fraction of a percent. Colorado has avoided extreme and exceptional drought for a number of months.

Just over 110,000 people in Colorado live in a drought-impacted area. Colorado’s 2023 population was estimated at 5,877,610.

One year ago, 72 percent of the state was drought-free, while 20 percent was abnormally dry. Five percent was experiencing moderate drought, with severe and extreme conditions impacting two and one percent, respectively, of the state. None of Colorado was in exceptional drought - the worst category.

Drought categories include (ranked from least to most severe) abnormally dry, moderate, severe, extreme and exceptional drought.

Colorado Drought Percentages for May 21, 2024









Current 5/21/24 63 25 12 0 0 0
Last Week to Current 5/14/24 60 31 8 1 0 0
3 Months Ago to Current 2/20/24 63 26 7 4 0 0
Start of Calendar Year to Current 12/26/23 37 37 17 7 2 0
Start of Water Year to Current 9/26/23 66 17 15 3 0 0
One Year Ago to Current 5/23/23 72 20 5 2 1 0