Colorado Has Seen A Lot Of Snow This Month. That’s A Good Thing For Drought Conditions

Craig Steamboat Winter Driving
Hart Van Denburg/CPR News
A delivery truck makes its way down a backroad through the snowy landscape between Craig and Steamboat Springs Jan. 22, 2020.

After a very dry January, much of Colorado has seen more snow this month. In fact, statewide snowpack is above average at 116 percent.

That's important for reducing drought in the state. The latest report says 44 percent of the state is still experiencing moderate or severe drought. But that's down a bit from the week before. And last year at this time, two-thirds of the sate had at least moderate drought conditions and nearly 22 percent saw extreme drought.

While drought is a bigger concern come spring and summertime, conditions can change a lot before then, meteorologist Rich Tinker with the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center said.

"It's really hard to forecast, so I wouldn't say 'good shape,'" Tinker says. "You'd rather not have any drought anywhere, but there is no reason to be too pessimistic yet."

On the bright side, much of central and northern Colorado currently has no drought or abnormally dry conditions, according to the latest monitor map. And the next chance for snow on the Front Range comes early next week, while the mountains could see more flurries Sunday.

"We had gotten into some moderate to severe drought across the state with the dryness that happened a few months ago, and we're still recovering from that," Tinker said. "But this snowpack certainly helps and everything you can put on top of the mountain is water you theoretically will be able to get into a reservoir at some point."