The latest U.S. Drought Monitor report shows improving conditions in the Four Corners.
Most of southeast Utah and southwest Colorado is now ranked as abnormally dry or moderate drought, the monitor’s two lowest ratings. A portion of northwest New Mexico remains in exceptional drought, the monitor’s most extreme rating.
One force behind the receding drought is the region’s run of above-average precipitation. Cooperative weather observer and meteorologist Jim Andrus tracks weather data for Cortez. A new report from Andrus includes Wednesday’s storm that brought the city’s winter-season snow to 48.9 inches, or 143 percent of normal. March precipitation is up to 2.41 inches, or 232 percent of normal for the month.
Drought Monitor maps (in the gallery above) display how much one week of above-average precipitation improved conditions in the Four Corners and throughout the West. However, the shrinking areas of extreme drought aren’t the end — as previously reported on KSJD, a “hangover” from the 2018 drought could have consequences for 2019 runoff.