DENVER (CBS4) - Statewide drought at the start of the year eventually became exceptional drought on the Western Slope and no drought on the Front Range. That has been the situation since April but now there is finally improvement in western Colorado.
The weekly drought monitor released Thursday morning showed improvement in all four drought categories (moderate, severe, extreme, and exceptional). It marks the first time since April all categories have seen improvement.
That being said, a grim situation remains on the Western Slope with about 15% of the state experiencing exceptional drought including Grand Junction, Glenwood Springs, Steamboat Springs, Craig, and Meeker. Still, that's an improvement of 3% in the last week.
Another 27% of Colorado has at least extreme drought including Vail, Montrose, Cortez, and Durango which is an improvement of 1% in the last seven days.
Occasional rain in recent weeks and periods of heavy rain in some areas has helped the numbers to improve.
Severe drought has decreased 3% in the last week and now includes about 33% of Colorado including Gunnison, Aspen, and Summit County north of Interstate 70.
And finally, moderate drought has decreased 3% in the last week and now covers about 38% of the state including most of the San Juan Mountain region which has seen the most dramatic improvement recently thanks to monsoon moisture.
Southwest Colorado should continue to rep the biggest benefits with drought improvement into early August with more significant rain in the forecast. The region is under a Flash Flood Watch from Noon on Thursday through midnight Thursday night.
Eventually the moisture will spread much farther north and east across the rest of the high country through the weekend. Denver and the Front Range also have a good chance for rain during the upcoming weekend. Some parts of Colorado have the potential to get more than 2 inches of rain from Friday through Monday.
Of course that could be too much of a good thing in some areas. The burn scars will be closely monitored for flash flooding and mudslides and some roads may be forced to close including I-70 through Glenwood Canyon.
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