A winter roundup and a look into the spring. Joe Ramey ~ Mountain Weather Masters

Joe Ramey out for a ski.. a former NWS meteorologist/forecaster and now happily retired but waiting for a weather gig with MWM.
Welcome to spring! Grand Valley trees are producing buds and flowers, and our tulips have emerged.
It has been an unusual winter. La Nina winters typically have a snowy January and that certainly didn’t happen this last winter. One pattern I have noticed is the second La Nina in a row is often dry and drier than the first La Nina. The last two “second La Nina in a row” were 2011-12 and 1999-00. Both of those seasons were dry overall but with a snowy January. Attached is a spreadsheet showing the winter’s and March’s Colorado precipitation and their comparison to average. It shows that the typical La Nina pattern of a wetter north and drier south did occur. This last winter it seems the storm track was shifted further north. You have to go up into Wyoming’s Wind River Range to find above normal snowpack.
This pattern has continued into March with the south really falling far behind normal. In the first attached image you can see the last 90 days have been warm and dry for the Great Basin, Southwest, and central-southern plains.
The outlook for April and the Apr-May-Jun season shows the La Nina pattern persisting, see attached second image. The storm track remains across the northern tier of states while the SW and south remain warm and dry. A dry spring is typical during La Nina seasons. Fire season has already started in SE Colorado and we are in heightened fire danger as we head into the warm season.
There is some reason for hope. A low snowpack is correlated to an earlier start to the monsoon season. Fingers crossed.
The outlook for next cold season currently shows an equal chance of El Nino and ENSO Neutral. El Ninos typically favor SW Colorado (and AZ-NM) with precipitation, while ENSO Neutral years are wild cards with no favored storm track.
Enjoy the spring!
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2 thoughts on “A winter roundup and a look into the spring. Joe Ramey ~ Mountain Weather Masters

  1. I would agree with Joe that a dry winter means a early and wetter monsoon season, That is what I remember in my 64 years in Colorado!!

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