Colorado Drought Map, January 2021


Some Improvements in the Drought Across Southeast Colorado 


After a very warm and generally dry November, a few passing storm systems in December and through January thus far, have brought some beneficial precipitation to portions of the southeast plains. 

Dust Looking South from Spreading Antlers Golf Course on January 15

With that said, the latest US Drought Monitor, issued Thursday January 14th 2021, indicates some improvements to drought conditions across southeastern Colorado, generally south and west of the Highway 50 Corridor, with extreme portions of southeastern Pueblo County, north central portions of Las Animas County, most of Otero County and southwestern portions of Bent County now depicted in moderate (D1) drought. Eastern portions of Las Animas County, as well as western and southern portions of Baca County are also indicating improved conditions from extreme (D3) to severe (D2) drought conditions. 

The latest US Drought Monitor continues to indicate exceptional drought (D4) conditions persisting in portions of Kiowa County.  

Severe drought (D3) conditions are also depicted across most of Crowley County, western and eastern portions of Kiowa County, extreme northeastern portions of Otero County, northern and eastern portions of Bent County, Prowers County, and northeastern portions of Baca County. 

Severe drought (D2) conditions remain indicated across west central to south central Bent County. 


Cooler weather associated with the winter season has helped to taper fire danger somewhat across the region. However, the lack of fuel moisture and occasionally breezy to windy conditions, will continue to keep fire danger in the moderate to high category across much of the snow free areas of the state. 


Data from The Colorado Climate Center and the NWS Climate Prediction Center continue to indicate soil moisture deficits, especially subsoil moisture, remaining high across much of south central and southeastern Colorado. 


NRCS data indicated 2021 Water Year snowpack and precipitation statewide was at 83 percent and 70 percent of average, respectively, as compared to 119 percent and 92 percent of average at this same time last year. 

In the Arkansas basin, NRCS data indicated December precipitation was 98 percent of average, which brings 2021 Water Year to date precipitation to 85 percent of average overall. 

January 1st snowpack in the Arkansas basin came in at 99 percent of average overall, which is 74 percent of the available snowpack at this time last year. Of note, snowpack percentage in the upper portion of the basin is lagging the southern portion of the basin at this time. 

NRCS data also indicated statewide water storage was at 82 percent of average overall at the end of December, compared to the 107 percent of average storage available statewide at this same time last year. 

In the Arkansas Basin, water storage at the end of December came in at 70 percent of average overall, as compared to 98 percent of average storage available at this same time last year. 


The average temperature in Pueblo for the past month of November was 32.8 degrees, which is 5.0 degrees above normal. Pueblo recorded 0.15 inches of precipitation and 1.4 inches of snow through the month of December, which is 0.32 inches below normal and 4.1 inches below normal, respectively. 

The 2020average temperature in Pueblo was 54.6degrees. This is 2.6 degrees above normal and makes 2020 tied with 2017 as the 9th warmest year on record in Pueblo. Pueblo recorded 5.33 inches of precipitation in 2020. This is 7.37inches below normal and makes 2020 the 3rd driest year on record in Pueblo, just behind the 3.94 inches and 5.00 inches recorded in 2002 and 2012, respectively. Pueblo tallied 28.9 inches of snow in 2020, which is 2.9 inches below normal.



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