DENVER – Nearly the entire state of Colorado is experiencing abnormally-dry drought conditions as we head into a La Niña period that is expected to bring more dry air to the state.
The latest figures in the U.S. Drought Monitor show 98.4 percent is experiencing “abnormally dry” conditions and 30.8 percent is in a period of moderate drought.
The worst drought conditions are along the Front Range and eastern plains of Colorado.
Thursday marked the 29th day in a row that Denver has gone without measurable precipitation, according to the National Weather Service.
— NWS Boulder (@NWSBoulder) November 10, 2016
Though that doesn’t come close to cracking the top-10 precipitation-free streaks, Denver could come close if it doesn’t get any rain or snow in the next week.
There is currently a chance of rain or snow for next Wednesday night and Thursday morning.
But drought conditions are expected to worsen as La Niña arrives this week in the U.S. The weather pattern occurs when water in the Pacific Ocean cools, and usually brings higher precipitation to the Northwest and northern Rockies, but that comes with drought conditions across the American South.
Forecasters with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have said in recent days this La Niña will likely be weak and short-lived, adding there is a 55 percent chance it will persist through the winter.
The current trajectory for La Niña means Colorado could be a bit drier than usual this winter, though it should be exempted from the driest conditions.
But the current conditions moved in quickly. On Aug. 9, only 26.7 percent of the state was under “abnormally dry” conditions, and just 0.4 percent was under moderate drought conditions.
A year ago today, 80 percent of the state was experiencing no drought conditions whatsoever.
The lack of precipitation and warmer, drier air has already postponed ski season at several of Colorado’s resorts, which have struggled to make artificial snow at times and haven’t seen much help from Mother Nature.