Becky Bolinger

Did the March 2021 snowstorm improve drought conditions across Colorado?
Almost immediately after our major snowstorm wrapped up this weekend, the calls and emails started coming into the office on Monday morning. So many questions swirled around how extreme this event was , and most importantly, what does it mean for snowpack and drought. So here, I answer the major questions everyone has been asking. Did this stor
Last week was quite cold across much of the U.S., but was it extreme?
Last week was the coldest week of the winter, with subzero temperatures extending across a significant portion of our country, even in southern states like Texas . But, is it really that big of a deal? It is, after all, winter. It's supposed to be cold. Perhaps it was like this every d
Colorado’s top weather and climate events of 2020
The year has finally come to a close, and I think we can all agree that we don't feel bad shutting the door on 2020. While we welcome 2021, let's look back at some of the most memorable weather and climate events that occurred in Colorado this past year. Boulder Snow On October 10, 2019 3.8 inches of snow fell in Boulder. Not anything memorable, except it started off Boulder's snowiest season on record. On April 17, 2020 16.9 inches of snow accumulated, bringing Boulder's seasonal total to a wh
The relationship between drought and wildfires in Colorado
It had been a brutal summer. After a dreadful snowpack season, the heat and dryness came on quickly. The U.S. Drought Monitor showed the state with widespread D2 and D3 drought. Watering restrictions were put in place. And then the big fire started. The governor at the time famously told reporters that "it looks as if all of Colorado is burning today." I had recently graduated with my Bachelor's Degree in Meteorology from Metro State University of Denver. I remember a day when the sun looked lik
Have you heard the term "flash drought?" What exactly does that mean?
One of the more recent meteorological buzz-terms making the rounds is "flash drought." This is a relatively new term, even for meteorologists and climatologists. Drought is one of the most unique natural hazards we deal with, partially due to its slow development and evolution. And, unlike other hazards, droughts are "measured" by the cumulative lack of something as opposed to actual measurements of variables. The official definition of drought has never been short or simple, and it can have v
Drought expands across southern Colorado
For many of us in the state, this winter has been quite snowy. For a lot of mountain areas, it’s been a good snowpack year. So it might be surprising to know that some areas of our state are in increasingly severe drought. As of April 28, 32% of Colorado is experiencing severe drought (D2) conditions. How did we get here? One year ago in May, the U.S. Drought Monitor depicted a blank map for Colorado .
Let’s talk about the weather, specifically nice weather!
Two things are happening in our world right now. First, and most obvious, we are social distancing. We are told that we can’t go to restaurants or gatherings, but it's frequently recommended that we can still "go outside." Well, luckily, the other thing that is occurring is that we're in the spring season. The season of new growth, flowers budding, snow becoming rain, longer days, warmer days. Climatologists refer to March 1 - May 31 as spring. But if you’ve lived in Colorado for more than 1 ye
How February snows have helped shape Colorado's 2019 - 2020 snow season
It's been a roller coaster winter for Colorado, and February was certainly no exception. January was warm and dry, and many people feared it signaled the end of winter and beginning of drought. But after a gloriously beautiful spring-like beginning to February, the "mild switch" was turned off. Take a look at this graph of daily temperatures compared to average for Fort Collins. While both January and February are part of winter, the long-term trend indicates that February is usually warmer tha
How might the new NOAA climate temperature normals change for your county?
We're almost one month into 2020, and this is an exciting time for climatologists. Upon the completion of this year, calculations will begin to update the climatological normals. Wondering what those are? Well, any time you hear your local meteorologist mention the average for the day, or see headlines like "temperatures much above average" or "expect drier than average conditions," that average is based on climatology that has been calculated, using the most recent 3 decades, by NOAA's National
A look at Christmas Day extremes
Christmas is coming up, and usually, the question on everyone's mind is, "Will we have a White Christmas?" You've likely already read or seen several different articles addressing the statistical probability of snow on Christmas, including here on Weather5280. With a ridge of high pressure moving across the middle of the country, it's more likely that many people will experience a sunny and mil