Weather watchers might remember early 2012 as the precursor to a prolonged drought that ensnared all of Colorado.

Late 2016 is starting to look mighty similar.

The most recent U.S. Drought Monitor, released Thursday, shows a huge portion of Colorado newly engulfed in a moderate drought or abnormal dryness, the precursor to drought. About 90 percent of the state is in drought territory, including Fort Collins, and that's a big deal for all Coloradans because it impacts the water and food resources in a semi-arid state that relies heavily on irrigated crops and lawns.

Notably, moderate drought persists in Fort Collins, which is more than 7 inches below average, and Denver, more than 3 inches below average, and has now spread to Boulder, Colorado Springs and Pueblo. "Moderate" is the first of four levels of drought severity.

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