From The Durango Telegraph (Tracy Chamberlin):
In 2002, La Plata County was suffering from exceptional drought. This year the county is under moderate drought. Ten years ago, 78 percent of the state was under extreme drought. Currently, less than 10 percent of Coloradoans are feeling those kinds of conditions.
Also, the Animas River is running around 1,200 cubic feet per second. That’s less than half the average, around 3,000 cfs, but still a far cry from the record lows in 2002 of 500 cfs.
“There’s still some moisture out there,” said Durango Fire and Rescue Chief Dan Noonan. “But with each passing day, the situation is changing.”
The snowmelt came four to six weeks earlier than normal this year, rushing the rapids and depleting the water sources a little early. And the state is trending toward drier and drier conditions.
Three months ago, 40 percent of Colorado was suffering from moderate drought. Last week, it was 68 percent. Now that number has jumped to more than 75 percent.
The northeast part of the state, covering about 10 percent, is under extreme drought conditions. Last week that number was just more than 7 percent. The entire state is considered abnormally dry or worse, and with each passing week it continues to spread.