Spring driest, 3rd warmest on record

Grand Junction on Wednesday leaped from the frying pan into the fire, bidding farewell to a spring that was unprecedented in its lack of moisture and saying hello to a summer showing few indications that a break from the hot, dry spell is anything more than a mirage in this desert.

The city recorded only 0.38 inch of precipitation this spring, the least since the National Weather Service in Grand Junction began keeping records in 1893. The average temperature of 62.6 degrees was the third-warmest, behind only the springs of 1934 and 1940.

Both figures are more extreme than the spring of 2002, the year to which experts compare this year’s extraordinary heat and dryness. A total of 0.69 inch of rain fell 10 years ago, tying for the fifth-least, while the average temperature of 61 degrees was roughly a degree and a half cooler than this year, according to the Weather Service.

The Weather Service issued 24 red-flag warnings this spring, equaling the amount issued all of last year, Ramey said. Such warnings advise the public that a combination of warm temperatures, gusting winds and a lack of moisture could create explosive fire conditions.

Forecaster Joe Ramey said even though Western Slope reservoirs generally remain in good shape due to record snowfall last year, they aren’t insulating area residents from the effects of drought.

“Fire concerns, irrigation concerns, it just heightens all aspects,” he said. “The impacts will be direct and indirect and probably touching every aspect of our lives.”

Today’s forecast high of 97 could be followed by three consecutive 100-degree days, according to the Weather Service.


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