Hotter, Drier Summer Could Be On the Way For Western Colorado
It shouldn't come as a huge surprise, but it looks like we may be in for a hot, dry summer in western Colorado.
Of course, western Colorado summers typically are hot and dry, but, thanks to La Nina, this year's vacation season could be hotter and drier than normal.
The La Nina Effect
La Nina, which has its roots in the Pacific Ocean, is a weather pattern that can have far-reaching weather impacts around the globe. While it is virtually impossible for forecasters to predict exactly how La Nina will impact this summer's weather, they are able to make some educated guesses based on historical patterns and tons of weather data.
A Hotter Than Normal Summer For Western Colorado?
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says La Nina is likely to stay in place through the summer. That means higher than normal temperatures for much of the country, including Colorado. You can see from the map below that much of the country is leaning toward higher temperatures while states like Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico are very likely to be above normal.
Colorado's Drought Conditions Could Worsen
While we get into the hottest season of the year, it could also be drier normal based on current projections from NOAA. The seasonal precipitation outlook shows up to a 50% chance of drier than normal conditions through July across most of Colorado. Many communities may be implementing watering restrictions and in some cases facing water shortages.
Fire Restrictions Are On the Way
Having fire restrictions in place in western Colorado is not unusual, but this year's fire danger could be greater than normal, given the projection of hot, dry conditions in the state. It's reasonable to expect that we will be dealing with significant fire restrictions as the seasonal temperature begins to warm. Most fireworks are likely to be banned, and campfires will be greatly restricted and regulated.
Again I would point out that weather patterns based on La Nina and El Nino are very difficult to accurately predict. While this may all sound doom and gloom, it's only a projection. It's not beyond the scope of possibility that we could see fairly normal conditions this summer in the western Colorado desert - and, with any good fortune - a good amount of much-needed precipitation. We'll keep our fingers crossed.