Highlights of Colorado’s Water Year for 2018 from CSU

Slow Storm Build Up Over Prowers County


Colorado State University’s Colorado Climate Center has compiled a recap for the state’s Water Year 2018, noting this year was the warmest and driest in 124 years.

Hail Pile Up

Lamar was reported with 76 days at or above 90 degrees for 2018. Walsh edged pasts with 77 days while Trinidad in southeast Colorado noted 48 days at 90 or above.  The highest was Grand Junction with 90 days while Alamosa stayed on the cool side with only five days for the year.  Pueblo had 82, Burlington posted 52 and Montrose reported 78 days.  In 1934, Lamar led the state with 129 days at 90 degrees or above and Walsh posted 95 days in 2011.

Downed Power Lines

Las Animas led with way with the hottest recorded day at 110 degrees on June 28, 2018. Grand Junction posted the warmest low temperature for the day of 78 degrees on June 14, 2018.  Taylor Park had the lowest of the low, registering minus 29 on January 27, 2018.  Coal Creek Canyon got the most snow in one day, 19 inches on May 3, 2018.  Virginia Dale had the lowest warm temperature for the year at only 4 degrees on January 20, 2018.  Keenesburg posted the most precipitation in one day at 4.84 inches on June 19, 2018.

Storm Clouds Forming West of Lamar

Other notable weather facts showed that for the first time ever, a call was placed on the Yampa River on August 22, when flows at Deerlodge Park were a meager 19 CFS. A severe hailstorm battered Colorado Springs on August 6 with baseball sized hail falling at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, killing five zoo animals and injuring 14 people.  This was one of many large hail events in the state in a very active season.  Two tornadoes were reported in Park County over the summer, taking their total number of tornadoes ever recorded in that county to seven.  The Spring Creek Fire and 416 Fire burned a combined 162,000 acres in southern Colorado.  The Spring Creek Fire was caused by one suspect who has been charged with 147 counts of arson on June 27th.  It grew to over 100,000 acres to become the state’s third largest wildfire on record.  On April 17th, a cold front brought significant winds.  Extensive damage was reported from the Front Range across the Eastern Plains where gusts were from 70-90 mph.  Wind was blamed for shutting down DIA runways and starting the Badger Hole Fire in Baca County which burned more than 30,000 acres.

Sunny Skies at John Martin Reservoir

This past year there were 16 SNOTEL stations that reported record low peak snowpack. 450,000 acre feet volume was lost from Blue Mesa Reservoir, almost half its maximum capacity.  La Junta Airport had its highest wind gust in 30 years, reaching 77.1mph on April 17th.  The number of two inch or larger hail reports was 67 for 2018, which is more than double the state average of 26.  There was a 64% increase in the percentage of the state in severe drought, reporting from October 1 to September 30th.  Gateway, Colorado reported 46 consecutive days in a row without any precipitation, from October 3 to November 17th.

Info compiled by: Russ Schumacher, Beck Bollinger and Peter Goble…CSU

Filed Under: AgricultureConsumer IssuesCountyEconomyEnvironmentFeaturedMedia ReleaseRecreationWeather


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