Forecasts point to another warm & dry Fall season

Will we have to wait for December snow again? Sure hope not...
Published: Aug. 31, 2022 at 3:57 PM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Last week, we talked about La Niña’s expected impact on our weather through the winter season. The latest 3-month outlook (Meteorological Fall) from the Climate Prediction Center echoes a familiar trend. Monsoon moisture is already quickly starting to shut down and the long-range weather pattern looks to favor a warm and dry weather pattern for the state of Colorado.

Southern Colorado is highlighted for the highest chance to see above-average warmth and below-normal moisture. The maps below indicate warm and dry conditions expected across most of the Western United States.

In our discussion last week on La Niña, we mentioned the storm track/jet stream playing a key role in our dry, warm weather patterns in the cool seasons. Below is an animation showing how the jet stream shifts south in the Fall, but not far enough south to help Southern Colorado see moisture. Niña often keeps the jet stream JUST far enough north to keep us on the dry & warm side of these systems... typically giving us a lot of wind (off of the mountains).

Whenever we see wind come down the front range, a phenomenon called “downsloping” occurs. As air descends in elevation, it will always warm and dry out. The more and more storms passing to our north provide a feedback loop to perpetuate dry, warm weather.

Even with a healthy monsoon year, it will only take a few weeks of dry, warm weather to pull moisture out of the soil and vegetation. Below is a map outlining wildland fire risk for the upcoming month of September. While the highest risk for wildland fires looks to be over the northeast plains of Colorado, the threat is still possible in our backyards too. It will be important to remind yourself of the fire safety that we went over this Spring, to keep yourself prepared for what looks like it COULD be another active round of fire weather ahead in the next few months.

(National Interagency Fire Center, Predictive Services (Boise, ID))