Colorado is drought-free for the first time since 2019. Will it last?

Over the past 22 years, the state has only seen short breaks from drought often followed by longer, more severe drought conditions

Islands are encircled by water as Dillion Reservoir in Summit County reaches 101% of its full capacity on July 6. The reservoir, operated by Denver Water, holds 257,304 acre-feet of water.
Hugh Carey/The Colorado Sun

Colorado is drought-free for the first time in four years — a rare reprieve for a state in the middle of a megadrought.

According to researchers, the hot and dry conditions in the southwestern United States since 2000 account for the driest period on record over the past 1,200 years. Colorado itself has only had short blips of time over the past 22 years when drought conditions disappeared completely across the entire state.

But this year’s snow, rain and hail have doused the state so well that some areas of metro Denver are beating rainy Seattle for year-to-date precipitation. This week, for the first time since mid-July 2019, Colorado is all clear of drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. 

“It’s a big deal in terms of, we don’t have to worry about impacts from drought right now,” said Becky Bolinger, Colorado’s assistant state climatologist. “It’s very uncommon for us to be in the summer months and not have drought anywhere in the state.”

The Drought Monitor’s map of Colorado typically shows bands of yellow, orange and reds across the state, indicating the location and severity of drought and near-drought conditions statewide.

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