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.
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.
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.