High-pressure ridge kept June dry

Taylor Wood has worked as a lifeguard for the past three summers at the Moyer Pool in Lincoln Park in Grand Junction, where many residents spent a good share of the hot, dry month of June.

If it was hard to swallow in June, if it seemed like there were not enough eye drops in the world to make your eyes stop feeling gritty, if you reapplied Chap Stick every two minutes and it still didn’t seem often enough, there’s a reason: June was dry.

Very, very dry.

“June’s typically our driest month, climatologically speaking, and this past June has been exceptionally dry for most of the region,” said Matthew Aleksa, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction.

“Last month, for the most part, most of the days in June didn’t really receive any rain at all.”

In fact, during the entire month, Grand Junction received 0.13 inch of rain, 0.12 of that on June 8, Aleksa said.

If it wasn’t for that one storm blowing through, June 2014 might have joined the ranks of June 2001, say, or June 1980 for being among the driest Junes on record.

The average moisture level for June is 0.46 inch, Aleksa said, but because of a high pressure ridge over the West, the rain just didn’t fall.

“We had some low-pressure systems over the Pacific northwest and one over the plains and Midwest and so they were getting a lot of storms out that way,” Aleksa said.

“But since we were right in between, in that ridge of high pressure, we had a drier type of air mass where the moisture wasn’t there for producing the storms or giving us the weather systems that would bring rain.”

However, the news gets better.

The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting above-normal precipitation for July, August and September.

“We’re looking at models that are starting to hint in the next week at a potential for more moisture to work its way up over Arizona and the Four Corners region,” Aleksa said.

“By the middle of next week, we’re going to start to see that high pressure start to shift into a more favorable pattern, start to see a more monsoon-like moisture surge.”

Plus, he said, temperatures for the next six to 10 days are forecast to be around normal — which, granted, is still 93, but double digits are better than triple.


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