Parched spring heads into arid summer
Having just completed a three-month span that was one of the driest in 119 years of weather records, Grand Junction now enters what is historically the least rainy month of the year.
And there’s little relief in sight, as forecasts are calling for below-normal precipitation and above-average temperatures in the Grand Valley in June, July and August.
A paltry 0.09 inches of rain was recorded at Grand Junction Regional Airport in May, making it the ninth-driest May on record. The average temperature of 65.8 degrees was nearly 4 degrees warmer than normal, according to Joe Ramey, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction.
“May just continues this trend we’ve seen all spring of warmer and drier than normal,” he said.
A total of 0.58 inches of rain fell in the city in March, April and May. The only years in which less precipitation was recorded in Grand Junction during that stretch were 1956 and 1972, when 0.57 inches of rain fell.
Year-to-date, 1.38 inches of rain has been recorded in Grand Junction, a little more than one-third of the normal amount, according to the Weather Service.
The parched landscape and severe drought label currently applied by weather watchers to Grand Junction is a far cry from this time last year, when local waterways were running at such record-high levels that portions of the Colorado Riverfront Trail were washed away.
“We got spoiled last year,” Ramey said. “It seems like drought is a long ways away.”
Even with a dry winter, he said, “you always hope that spring would bring more precipitation, and now May is over, and here we are.”
The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center calls for an increased probability of below-normal precipitation in Grand Junction in June and an increased probability of warmer-than-normal temperatures. He said it’s too early to tell how much precipitation will fall in July and August in comparison to historical data.