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.
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.
– NWS Boulder (@NWSBoulder) April 28, 2022
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 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.
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.
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.
Winds come back today, with increasing fire danger San Luis Valley and Baca County. Friday looks much worse, with widespread gusts over 50 mph and low humidity spreads into the region. Prepare now for high fire danger! #cowx pic.twitter.com/DXaQV4iM4i
– NWS Pueblo (@NWSPueblo) April 28, 2022
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
This April, there have been 21 unique high wind warnings issued for local areas of Colorado. In 2009, 2013 and 2015.
Denver has seen 14 days this April with wind gusts over 30 mph. Three days came with gusts over 40 mph and there have been many days with gusts between 15 mph and 30 mph. Many areas have seen worse wind than Denver proper, and even though this has been an extremely windy month, very few wind events rival what was seen this April.
No matter which way you put it, it has been dry and windy and has created lots of fire danger across our state.
The forecast through the rest of the month looks bleak. There is the chance of rain with an incoming storm but that chance is low. The chance of gusty winds, however, is high once again. If we get some rain in Denver, and that’s a big if, then it’ll be great and it would push us out of that super rare category of basically not getting any moisture.
Unfortunately, the big story will be moving into southern Colorado on Friday. Windy, dry conditions forecast to continue into Saturday as well. There are signs of our weather turning a bit wetter as we go through the first week of May, but as we have seen in recent weather, storms have been dissipating or have moved too far north.