La Niña has been ruling the roost, as we expected it to back in the fall. It is alive and well in the Pacific Ocean, as you can see from the map below.
All of that "blue and green" off the West Coast of South America is water that is cooler than average. This represents the La Niña from a sea surface temperature anomaly perspective. Another area that I think has gotten far less publicity than the La Niña, is the warmer than average water off the west/southwest coast of California. It is warmer than average over a wide area. This limited temperature gradient coupled with the ongoing La Niña is not conducive to an active storm track for southern areas. In fact, it favors the exact opposite.
The one bit of possible good news I see is that this La Niña may have peaked, and will gradually start to relax. The animation below shows that trend. Warmer than average water in the Western Pacific undercutting the colder than average water, which tends to weaken the La Niña and eventually lead to its end.
Does this mean we will immediately see drought relief when La Niña comes to an end? No...and because we are in the grips of a regional drought, it may take quite a while to erase this footprint.
We did see a storm earlier in the month move through Northeast Colorado, but it did very little fore Southeast Colorado. The map below shows the percent of normal precipitation for the past 30 days and 90s days.
Green is good and brown is bad...aside from that one storm, we haven't had much at all east of the mountains. You can see that reflected in the 90 day map...lots of brown.
The pattern for February offers very little optimism for Southeast Colorado, which is typical. February is usually a dry month for us. The latest CFS Model (shown below) is not optimistic at all for Southeast Colorado. Drier than average certainly looks likely...
Let's look at the latest models and what they have to say for the upcoming spring.
NMME Model Forecast March-May
The NMME Model forecasts a warmer than average and drier than average spring for Southeast Colorado.
CFS Model Forecast March-May
The CFS Model paints a warmer than average and drier than average spring for Southeast Colorado.
JAMSTEC Model March-May
The JAMSTEC Model shows a warmer than average and drier than average spring too...
Bottom-line, we see Southeast Colorado ending up drier than average for the spring. In fact, it could be much drier than average. With the main storm track favoring areas much farther north, "meaningful storm" frequency will certainly be lower than average.
Below is our temperature and precipitation spring (March, April, May) outlook: