“Rain, rain go away” so says a popular children’s rhyme. As a child growing up in Missouri, I used to chant this a lot especially with all the rain and thunderstorms during our muggy, humid summers.
But here in Colorado, it’s the opposite, after several weeks of warmer weather, we should be getting regular afternoon rain and thunderstorms. After all, it’s July, and July in Colorado means the monsoon season.
Before moving here in 2008, I thought monsoons were something that happened in East Asia. But turns out that here in Colorado, mid-summer usually ushers in copious amounts of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico resulting in rain from the beginning of July through mid-August.
In prior years, notably 2012, the monsoonal moisture has literally saved us from terrible wildfire risk. In 2012, we had an unseasonably dry spring, and things were looking bleak as several large fires broke out in June. But the monsoon came on in record amounts in July, resulting in 8 inches of precipitation that greened things up and alleviated the terrible dryness of that summer.
But this year, nothing in sight but more hot, dry weather. Where is the rain and the monsoon? If you look at NOAA’s climate prediction page, there is no end in sight to this hot, dry weather. Both the 14-day outlook and the monthly outlook show warmer than normal temperatures and no notable precipitation on the horizon. And it’s not just Colorado.
The entire lower 48 is slated to have an above normal temps for the next month. What’s that you say about climate change?
About the only good thing I can think of to come out of this forecast is for the hikers and mountain climbers among us. Usually, with the monsoon season, to climb the high peaks and fourteeners, you have to get up in the wee hours of the morning at 3 a.m. or so to insure you summit and get off the peaks before thunderstorms roll in. But with this forecast, I might even be able to get a full night’s sleep and bag a few more peaks than normal.
Meanwhile, I dream of cooler temperatures, snow falling and ski season as thoughts to keep me cool.