Springtime muddy, slippery trail in Durango, Colorado Photo Credit: KaraGrubis (iStock).

Photo Credit: KaraGrubis (iStock).

The snowpack, calculated as snow water equivalent, has been dropping around Colorado in recent weeks. While several big waves of snow have rolled through the state, they've consistently favored certain areas while leaving other regions out to dry.

Currently, the statewide snowpack is at 78 percent of the to-date median. While this number is boosted by the South Platte River Basin (includes Denver, Fort Collins, and Boulder) sitting at 100 percent of to-date median snowpack, it's brought down by the 61 percent to-date median snowpack found in southwestern Colorado's San Miguel, Dolores, Animas, and San Juan River Basins. The rest of the state is also far below the to-date median.

Map Credit: United States Department of Agriculture.

Map Credit: United States Department of Agriculture.

While Colorado is looking pretty dry, it's worth noting that for the first time this year, part of the state is no longer experiencing drought conditions. As of April 20, 98.81 percent of the state is experiencing abnormally dry conditions or worse – not 100 percent. The exception is found in the north-central region of the state. That might seem like good news, and it is for this year, but 98.81 percent compares to just 66.74 percent of the state experiencing abnormally dry conditions or worse at the same time last year.

One data point that's particularly concerning looks at the percentage of the state in the most severe two of four stages of drought – 'extreme' and 'exceptional' drought. While none of the state fell into this level of severity this time last April, 32.13 percent of the state is at this level of drought now. Nearly all of this more extreme level of drought is found on the western edge of Colorado.

Colorado drought map. Data from April 20, 2021. Map Credit: United States Drought Monitor

Colorado drought map. Data from April 20, 2021. Map Credit: United States Drought Monitor, Author Richard Heim.

Because the state is so dry, fire season is expected to be long and very active in Colorado. Enjoy the outdoor space with extreme caution and fire safety awareness. Heed all restrictions put in place and report suspicious activity to local authorities.

Find more information about Colorado's drought situation on the drought monitor website and learn more about snowpack on USDA snow survey page.

Director of Content and Operations

Spencer McKee is OutThere Colorado's Director of Content and Operations. In his spare time, Spencer loves to hike, rock climb, and trail run. He's on a mission to summit all 58 of Colorado's fourteeners and has already climbed more than half.


Get OutThere

Signup today for free and be the first to get notified on new updates.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.