Fire danger, wind and lack of moisture shaped April records

There’s no doubting that this April has been windier than normal. And can you even understand the amount of fire danger has been across the state? It’s been a heck of a month.

If you have lived in Denver, or Colorado, for any amount of time, you know you have pay attention to months like this since they can have major implications on drought and summer fires.

There were several notable weather records broken in Denver this month. The city received – or the lack thereof. We are a rare company when it comes to total moisture this month.

Another is the amount of fire danger that was realized across the state. We’ve never had this active a month in regard to fire danger.

Lastly, the wind. I think we can understand that it’s been a few weeks.

Total moisture this April

April is usually one of our wetter months out of the whole year. Denver averages 1.68 inches of rain this month. Through April 27, Denver had recorded just 0.01 inches, or one-hundredth of an inch, of rain at the official weather reporting station at the Denver airport. Getting just 0.01 inches of rain during the entire month doesn’t happen very often.

Departure from mean precipitation during the month of April – MRCC

Weather records in Denver date back to the 1870s – about 150 years. Out of those 150 years of records (or 1,804 months), only 21 months have reported 0.01 inches of rain or less (note that December of 2013 is only 20 months ago) that had this little moisture).

Boulder is also seeing its record driest April with only 0.12 inches of rain accumulating. Boulder averages 3.05 inches of moisture during the month of April.

Most of Colorado is experiencing this dry April. Fort Collins, Colorado Springs, Pagosa Springs, Telluride and much of the Eastern Plains have a huge deficit this month. The mountains have fared OK, but they are still lacking with the exception of areas near Craig.

There is the possibility of a small rain or snow showers before the end of the month, but the chances are low and rain technically only counts for those around metro Denver if it falls at the Denver airport.

If you’re one of the few to get some rain or snow, consider yourself lucky. Even the Denver airport ends up with several hundred tons of rain,

Fire danger

Fire danger can be measured in two ways: Service.

Whichever way you measure it this month, though, you’ll still end up with record numbers. Let’s start with fire outlooks issued by the Storm Prediction Center. The center measures fire danger regionally on a scale from elevated to critical to extreme. Another type of fire hazard is the risk of dry thunderstorms or thunderstorms with no rain but there is lightning.

Day 1 Fire Danger Outlook – IEM

The National Weather Service has issued a large number of weather hazards.

There have been 103 unique fire weather alerts (red flag warnings combined with fire weather watches) issued through April 27. of 2007.

Number of Fire Weather Watches Issued Across Colorado
Number of Red Flag Warnings Issued Across Colorado

Red flag warnings and weather watches have already been issued in parts of southern Colorado for Thursday and Friday, further adding to this fire danger-filled month.

The wind

April is typically our windiest month of the year, but this April has been a bit much.

We usually average about three high wind warnings during this month. High wind warnings are quite common in Colorado during the winter and spring months as winter storms are typically windy storms.

High winds warnings are issued on the plains when the gusts are over 40 mph. Closer to the foothills, high winds warnings issued at 50 mph or higher for at least one hour with gusts often over 75 mph

Number of High Wind Watches Issued Across Colorado

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