According to a report released this morning by the U.S. Drought Monitor, close to one-third of the state of Colorado is now experiencing "Extreme Drought" conditions.

The report, released at 8 a.m. this morning, Thursday, June 18, shows Colorado impacted by everything from D0 (Abnormally Dry) to D3 (Extreme Drought) conditions. Of course, Colorado is experiencing plenty of D1 (Moderate Drought) and D2 (Severe Drought) too. The northernmost portion of Colorado is experiencing no drought conditions.

As you can see from the map below, the areas affected by D3-Extreme Drought are the southernmost portion of the state. Another section of Colorado, namely Delta and Montrose counties, are dealing with D3 conditions as well.

US Drought Monitor Map

When the U.S. Drought Monitor labels a region as D3, what precisely does that mean? According to their official website:

  • Pasture conditions worsen
  • City landscapes are dying
  • Large fires develop
  • Rafting, fishing, hunting, skiing are reduced; fish kills occur
  • Grasshopper and insect infestation is noted
  • Reservoirs are extremely low; mandatory water restrictions are implemented; water
  • temperature increases

Just a week ago I drove through Cortez, Dolores, Montrose, and Delta. Not that I'm an expert, but I didn't see anything at the time suggesting the area was struggling with "Extreme" drought. Keep in mind, though, I was on the highway, following right along the Dolores River.

Why such a severe drought when spring isn't officially over? According to KOAA News 5, drought conditions started to develop in the early Spring due to a drier than normal March and April.

Looking at the National Weather Service forecast for the region, Montezuma County will be under a Red Flag Warning tomorrow, with highs in the 90s through the weekend and no rain in sight.

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