Monsoon Season Preview

 I know we are only in May, but I wanted to give you an idea of what I am tracking for our monsoon season.  I have spent plenty of time talking about how we are rapidly transitioning into an El Nino, and how our weather pattern has been increasingly active.  I don't see that changing much, especially for those that live along the Front Range.  So, I have looked back through history and have found years that had atmospheric conditions close to what we have now.  I then use what occurred during those years to make a projection (forecast) for what is to come.  This is called analogging...  The years I came up with are 1957, 1965, 1982, 1997, 2006, and 2009.  Now, two of those years were during very strong El Nino episodes (Super El Ninos), and I am cautious in using them.  They were also during a time when the Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Ocean were in different phases than they are now.  Those reasons give me pause, but I still have them in the list for now.  Specifically, I am targeting total rainfall during the heart of the monsoon season, which is usually July and August.  However, I will also throw in June as sometimes the monsoon can fire up earlier than normal during these years.

Colorado Springs:

1957  June:  1.08"  July: 3.65"  August:  1.78"  =  6.51"

1965  June:  8.00"  July:  5.02"  August:  3.83"  =  16.85"

1982  June:  3.82"  July:  3.64"  August:  5.37"  =  12.83"

1997  June:  5.44"  July:  4.63"  August:  4.70"  =  14.77"

2006  June:  0.82"  July:  4.42"  August:  3.52"  =  8.76"

2009  June:  2.89"  July:  3.82"  August:  1.84"  =  8.55"



1957  June:  0.84"  July:  2.29"  August:  2.18"  =  5.31"

1965  June:  2.79"  July:  2.41"  August:  2.69"  =  7.89"

1982  June:  1.71"  July:  2.71"  August:  2.35"  =  6.77"

1997  June:  2.02"  July:  0.80"  August:  4.13"  =  6.95"

2006  June:  0.24"  July:  3.13"  August:  3.78"  =  7.15"

2009  June:  1.20"  July:  5.39"  August:  2.71"  =  9.30"

As you can see, some of the numbers are highly variable, but they all do indicate one thing...both July and August appear to produce rather healthy rainfall totals when an El Nino is present.  Even if you take out 1982 and 1997, the wet signal is still there...especially for July in Colorado Springs.  

Why do I bring this up?  Well, we have several burn scars across the state and more than a few of those reside right here in Southern Colorado.  Waldo Canyon obviously having the biggest impact on population, with Black Forest not far behind.  Despite the flooding that we have seen during the past couple of years, we really haven't had what I would call an active monsoon season.  Granted, we had a big late season round last September, but that was an exception to the rule.

Bottomline, my numbers do show the potential for an enhanced flood threat during the heart of the monsoon season (July & August).  We should pay close attention to what history shows as potential for this summer.  I will be posting more info on this as we get closer, but wanted to provide a heads up...


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