65% of Colorado Still Experiencing Severe Drought
We thought last year was dry in Colorado, but now we realize that was nothing compared to what we are experiencing in 2018.
While recent rain across the state has helped, 65% of the state is still experiencing severe drought - or worse. By comparison, last year at this time, 83% of the state did not have any drought monitoring at all. According to the drought monitor, only about 18% of Colorado currently has zero drought conditions and plenty of precipitation.
The southwest part of the state is in the worst condition. Montrose, San Miguel, Dolores, Montezuma, La Plata, Hinsdale, San Juan, and Archuleta counties are all classified as exceptional drought, the most extreme classification possible.
Last week, the city of Grand Junction implemented watering restrictions as did Aspen for the first time in its history. Farmers and ranchers and fishermen are feeling the adverse effects of drought as are river outfitters, the forest service, and municipalities among others. We all know about the rash of wildfires.
We also know how hot the western Colorado summer has been, but we aren't the only ones in the world feeling the heat. NOAA says the month of July was the 4th warmest globally in 139 years of record keeping, and was the 409th consecutive month of above average temperatures.
We could sure use some rain this fall - and a lot of snow this winter, but even that may not be enough to counter the negative effects of this year's drought. Cooler temperatures are on the way, and hopefully lots of moisture. All we can do is hope and pray.