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Drought ending across the Front Range


DENVER (KDVR) – Drought is an insidious foe, often starting in the most innocent ways: a dry couple of days, followed by a mostly dry week, then a mostly dry month. Suddenly plants need more water, the clay cracks, streams run lower and farmers observe stunted or slow-growing crops.

Unfortunately, this process happened here across Colorado last year from late spring on, leading to extreme to exceptional drought — the worst kind. Farmers saw some crops ruined and area reservoirs observed big drops in water level.

Fortunately this spring, after a series of heavy rain events (and snow) dating back to March when we had that blizzard, we’ve seen vast improvements in soil moisture content and that’s led to drought conditions waning and eventually no longer even registering in some areas of Colorado.

Essentially, for parts of the Front Range, the drought is over — for now. In areas where the drought continues, vast improvement has resulted in, “abnormally dry” (in yellow), a huge upgrade from the moderate to severe drought in the month prior.

More rain is ahead for the region this Mother’s Day weekend, which will further improve conditions. If this trend continues, we’ll see a more bountiful crop, greener grass and lower watering bills.

That said, often times summer brings long, hot dry stretches, and the western U.S. as a whole has been enduring a years-long drought. So while we are experiencing relief today, there is no guarantee we’ll be in such a favorable position later in the growing season.

Speaking of growing season, the rule of green thumbs in Colorado is to wait for Mother’s Day before planting, as that is typically the point in the year when overnight frosts and freezes become quite uncommon in the lower elevations.

Certainly the more rain we get, the higher our overnight humidity levels, which in turn keep overnight temperatures warmer. In other words: This may be one of the nicest spring seasons we’ll have seen in a while. 

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