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Climate Review: Summer of 2018

 

Colorado Drought Map, August 21, 2018

 

The start of “Meteorological Summer 2018” (June-July-August) was a very warm and generally dry across south central and southeast Colorado. A few weather systems, including the remnants of a tropical system moving north and east out of the Gulf of California, brought some beneficial rains and a brief respite in the hot and dry conditions that prevailed for much of the month of June. For the month June as a whole, well above normal temperatures and well below normal precipitation were experienced across the area. This, combined with very warm and dry conditions experienced across south central and southeast Colorado throughout the previous winter and spring seasons, helped to fuel several large and destructive wildfires across the state throughout the month of June.

July of 2018 started out very warm and dry across south central and southeast Colorado. The southwest monsoon became active across the area into the middle of the month and persisted through the end of the month, bringing widespread and beneficial precipitation to much of southeast Colorado. However, much of western Colorado missed out on this widespread precipitation. For the month of July as a whole, at and above seasonal temperatures were experienced across the area, with at and below normal precipitation recorded across the western half of the state, and to well above normal precipitation recorded across the eastern half of the state.

August of 2018 started out where July ended, with monsoonal moisture bringing widespread showers and storms to much of southeastern Colorado through the middle of the month, before drier air started to work into the region through the latter half of the month. Similar to the previous month of July, much of western and south central Colorado missed out on much of this widespread precipitation throughout the month of August. Some of the widespread precipitation was also very destructive, with heavy rainfall causing several flash flooding events throughout the month, especially across the newer burn areas of spring, Hayden Pass and Junkins wildfires.

On August 6th, a very destructive and deadly storm brought baseball to softball sized hail to southwestern through southeastern portions of Colorado Springs. This storm was responsible for the deaths of three animals at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, along with 8 people taken to local hospitals for hail related injuries, and hundreds of millions of dollars of damage to cars, homes and businesses across southern portions of Colorado Springs.  For the month of August as a whole, at and above seasonal temperatures and generally below normal precipitation was experienced across western portions of the area, with well below normal temperatures and at to slightly below normal precipitation recorded across eastern Colorado, save well above normal precipitation recorded across the southern portions of the southeast Plains.

For the summer as a whole, above to well above normal temperatures and below to well below normal precipitation was experienced across south central and southeast Colorado, save for pockets of well above normal precipitation and below normal temperatures across the Southeast Plains.

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