Posts Tagged ‘wildfire’

Early Spring Weather

Weather has been pretty warm and dry across most of the country this spring. In some places, that’s not such a bad thing. It means that people can get their gardens turned and started a little earlier than usual. Around here, though, it’s not such a good thing.

On the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, we get most of our moisture in the winter and in the form of snow. March is generally the month with the most snow. I heard somewhere that we should get about 20% of our snow in March. According to this site, the average snowfall is 8.1″ for Colorado Springs. That doesn’t sound like much, until you see 4.9″ each for February and April. This year, according to this site, we have had less than an inch in March. The lack of snowfall combined with temperatures that were frequently in the 60s and 70s instead of the 50s that were the historical average, means that we were losing snow this March instead of building it.

I am new to this area, and maybe if I were familiar with a typical March, I might be more appreciative of the “early spring” that so many people are enjoying. I am also enjoying it. It’s nice to be able to start my tan this early to banish the winter pallor. However, if it is this warm this early, what is this summer going to look like? With as dry as it has been, we have already had one wildfire this year. This doesn’t bode well for what is going to happen during the more typical wildfire season around here.

The drama of fires aside, the loss of snow means that there will be less snow melting this spring to provide the moisture needed to germinate seeds and bring annuals out of dormancy. Less water coming from the mountains means less water for our consumption. On the frivolous side, that means that Kentucky Bluegrass lawns may not be getting the water they need to exist in their lush glory. On a more practical side, watering bans I believe also include vegetable gardens. Most people grow vegetables that are from Europe and the east. That means that they need far more water than natives in order to produce the food we’re looking for.

April came in like a lion. Sunday was 80 degrees. Monday topped out at about 45 with the clouds rolling in to cover the sky from horizon to horizon. Tuesday was even cooler with snow falling for most of the day. It’s warming up again, and most of the snow in the city is gone now. It doesn’t tend to stick around very long. However, it’s comforting to me to see Pike’s Peak resuming its (his?) white mantle for at least a little longer this season. A little moisture in reserve for later.