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Old 02-23-2010, 07:11 PM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DOUBLE H View Post
Snow is always good by me. I think back to 2002 and 2003. Dry conditions, no snowpack, and the fires that came in the Spring and Summer, well it was a long 2 summers! But we were in a drought cycle then, still are in one, but the snow is a welcome sight.
Aren't the fires usually worse following a precipitous winter and spring that causes more vegetation to grow that then dries out and burns in the late summer?
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Old 02-24-2010, 09:34 AM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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The fires of 2002, when the governor said "Colorado is on fire", were pretty bad. A wet spring usually means the grasses don't dry out so quickly. Also, wet springs are frequently followed by a little wetter and cooler summer than usual. My observations from 30 years here.
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Old 02-24-2010, 09:52 AM
 
Location: Ned CO @ 8300'
1,994 posts, read 4,197,987 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DOUBLE H View Post
Snow is always good by me. I think back to 2002 and 2003. Dry conditions, no snowpack, and the fires that came in the Spring and Summer, well it was a long 2 summers! But we were in a drought cycle then, still are in one, but the snow is a welcome sight.
I agree! And the later it comes in the spring, the better.
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Old 02-24-2010, 11:05 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
The fires of 2002, when the governor said "Colorado is on fire", were pretty bad. A wet spring usually means the grasses don't dry out so quickly. Also, wet springs are frequently followed by a little wetter and cooler summer than usual. My observations from 30 years here.
This is not univerally true, especially west of the Continental Divide. The weather patterns that bring winter and spring preciptitation to Colorado often operate independently of the summer precipitation pattern. The former is more tied to the Pacific jet stream and whether it sits north, south, or over Colorado during the winter months. For example, as seen in this El Niño year, it can tend to favor southwestern Colorado for winter and spring precipitation. The late spring and summer precipitation pattern is more influenced by the growth and westward expansion of the Bermuda High, which "fetches" moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and brings it northward to Colorado--initially to the Eastern Plains and Front Range and later to areas westward. In the mid- to late summer in a normal year, the westward expansion of the Bermuda High will facilitate the "southwest monsoon" that fetches moisture from both the Gulf of Mexico and Gulf of California. This pattern especially favors mid to late summer moisture for much of southern and western Colorado.

In a typical year the Pacific jet stream begins to weaken by mid-spring, and the Bermuda High begins its westward expansion, reaching its full extent by around mid-August. By mid to late September, it begins to recede eastward, and the Pacific jet stream once again begins to predominate, usually reaching its maximum extent in late winter and spring.

The long-term precipitation patterns for areas of Colorado illustrate the various influences. The mountains generally have their main precipitation peaks in late winter and spring, with heavier amounts falling west of the Continental Divide. The mountain areas have a secondary precipitation peak that usually occurs in June in the northern mountains, and late July and August in the southern mountains. The lower elevations generally have their precipitation peak either in spring or summer. Areas of northern Colorado and most of eastern Colorado see that peak in May and June. Areas of west-central, southwest Colorado, south-central Colorado, and parts of SE Colorado see that peak in mid-July through late August.

As one might expect, an especially strong or lengthy Pacific jet stream can bring copious amounts of precipitation to the mountains of Colorado--particularly the west-facing slopes, but it can also mean persistent drying Chinook winds on the Eastern Slope. It can also impede Gulf of Mexico moisture entering Colorado in late spring. That can mean that the mountains and Western Slope are wetter than normal during winter, while the Eastern Slope and Eastern Plains remain relatively dry. If the Pacific jet stream remains strong into the early summer, it can deprive the Eastern Slope of its heaviest precipitation period from the Bermuda High. Conversely, a weak Pacific jet stream may leave the mountains and western Colorado with a dry winter and spring, but may allow an earlier westward expansion of the Bermuda High, which can give eastern Colorado and the eastward facing mountain areas a wetter than normal spring and summer season.

Colorado's most severe drought events occur, fortunately fairly seldom, when BOTH the Pacific jet stream and the Bermuda High are weak in the same year.

None of this changes the fact that Colorado is essentially a pretty arid state, located a long way from the major sources of its moisture. That makes the climatic precipation patterns here both fairly dry and relatively unreliable from year to year. Long-time Coloradans understand that, but many "newbies" don't. And, sadly we continue to encourage population growth and poor water management practices that are severely straining a somewhat capricious and overappropriated water supply.
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Old 02-24-2010, 11:41 AM
 
Location: Wherabouts Unknown!
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jazzlover wrote:
None of this changes the fact that Colorado is essentially a pretty arid state, located a long way from the major sources of its moisture. That makes the climatic precipation patterns here both fairly dry and relatively unreliable from year to year. Long-time Coloradans understand that, but many "newbies" don't. And, sadly we continue to encourage population growth and poor water management practices that are severely straining a somewhat capricious and overappropriated water supply.
You obviously have a great interest in climate and weather like I do. Newbie or oldbie makes no differnece as to what interests one might have. I would venture a guess that 99% of the long time Colorado residents could not begin to explain the weather patterns that you described so elegantly. One of my favorite conversational topics is the weather. This interest has spawned many weather related conversations over the years with long time residents and newcomers alike in the various places I have lived. Based on those conversations, I'd give the long term residents only a very slight edge in understanding the local weather patterns. I find that it has far more to do with level of interest in climate and weather, than the amount of time a person has lived somewhere. For most people the weather is just part of the background. The only time they really pay attention to it is when it casues discomfort or inconvenience.

Last edited by CosmicWizard; 02-24-2010 at 11:54 AM..
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Old 02-24-2010, 01:10 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CosmicWizard View Post
jazzlover wrote:
None of this changes the fact that Colorado is essentially a pretty arid state, located a long way from the major sources of its moisture. That makes the climatic precipation patterns here both fairly dry and relatively unreliable from year to year. Long-time Coloradans understand that, but many "newbies" don't. And, sadly we continue to encourage population growth and poor water management practices that are severely straining a somewhat capricious and overappropriated water supply.
You obviously have a great interest in climate and weather like I do. Newbie or oldbie makes no differnece as to what interests one might have. I would venture a guess that 99% of the long time Colorado residents could not begin to explain the weather patterns that you described so elegantly. One of my favorite conversational topics is the weather. This interest has spawned many weather related conversations over the years with long time residents and newcomers alike in the various places I have lived. Based on those conversations, I'd give the long term residents only a very slight edge in understanding the local weather patterns. I find that it has far more to do with level of interest in climate and weather, than the amount of time a person has lived somewhere. For most people the weather is just part of the background. The only time they really pay attention to it is when it casues discomfort or inconvenience.
One major difference is that many "old line" Coloradans tend to work in professions--agriculture is a great example--that are directly tied to the behavior of the weather. Most metro residents, newbie or not, don't have nearly as much day-to-day interest in climate and weather--unless it gets severe enough (like a big hailstorm or blizzard) to impact their activities. That is unfortunate because Colorado's reliance on snowpack for most of its water needs makes weather behavior what should be a true concern for everyone. And, with the beetle-killed forest problem rife in Colorado, a dry spring or summer could easily translate into a landscape changing event for large chunks of this state. Climate and weather do matter.
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Old 02-24-2010, 02:32 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
85,094 posts, read 99,210,314 times
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Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
This is not univerally true, especially west of the Continental Divide.
My personal experience is along the Front Range. Also, I have been a visiting nurse and out driving in all kinds of weather. The offices where I worked rarely closed.
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Old 02-24-2010, 04:59 PM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,181,256 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
My personal experience is along the Front Range. Also, I have been a visiting nurse and out driving in all kinds of weather. The offices where I worked rarely closed.
Admittedly, I've studied and observed Colorado's climate for many, many years. I also have lived in numerous locales in the state--Plains, Eastern Slope, Western Slope, and mountain valleys. Some fair chunk of that time was spent in endeavors where I got to "enjoy" the climate in some pretty interesting "in your face" direct encounters. I also, by chance, have gotten to witness or see the immediate aftermath of several of Colorado's most severe weather events. The Plum Creek/South Platte River flood of 1965 that ravaged a lot of Castle Rock, Sedalia, and Denver being one example--I was "front and center" for that one ( Flood Summary June 14-20, 1965 ). Another was the 1970 Labor Day weekend flood in southwest Colorado--that one caused by the remants of a Pacific hurricane slamming into the Southwest. Again, I was right in the middle of that. Ironically, I only missed Colorado's most deadly weather event, the 1976 Big Thompson flood, by a couple of days ( The Big Thompson - The Coloradoan - www.coloradoan.com ). I was in that area less than a week before that event. All that, along with some pretty interesting major hailstorms, blizzards, droughts, and other little adventures. A fun ride.
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Old 02-24-2010, 06:10 PM
 
2,437 posts, read 7,127,353 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
Admittedly, I've studied and observed Colorado's climate for many, many years.
Not that that's not worthy of study, but...
Past performance does not indicate future results ...especially when it comes to weather.

I'm just glad to have had more snow as of late and I'll welcome another wet spring as well.
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Old 02-24-2010, 06:40 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
85,094 posts, read 99,210,314 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
Admittedly, I've studied and observed Colorado's climate for many, many years. I also have lived in numerous locales in the state--Plains, Eastern Slope, Western Slope, and mountain valleys. Some fair chunk of that time was spent in endeavors where I got to "enjoy" the climate in some pretty interesting "in your face" direct encounters. I also, by chance, have gotten to witness or see the immediate aftermath of several of Colorado's most severe weather events. The Plum Creek/South Platte River flood of 1965 that ravaged a lot of Castle Rock, Sedalia, and Denver being one example--I was "front and center" for that one ( Flood Summary June 14-20, 1965 ). Another was the 1970 Labor Day weekend flood in southwest Colorado--that one caused by the remants of a Pacific hurricane slamming into the Southwest. Again, I was right in the middle of that. Ironically, I only missed Colorado's most deadly weather event, the 1976 Big Thompson flood, by a couple of days ( The Big Thompson - The Coloradoan - www.coloradoan.com ). I was in that area less than a week before that event. All that, along with some pretty interesting major hailstorms, blizzards, droughts, and other little adventures. A fun ride.
Sounds like fun! Not. I was here for the Denver tornado of 1981 (?); the Christmas blizzard of 1982, and many others.
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