Southeast Colorado Long Range Forecast Update, April, 2018

No surprises here... Most of Southeast Colorado has been dealing with extremely dry weather for the past several months. The map below shows precipitation percentage of average for the past 60 days.

That's right, some areas are at 0-10% of average! What does that mean in terms of drought? It means severe to extreme drought is a growing problem...

Most of Colorado is seeing moderate to extreme drought, with the worst of it across the southern part of the state.

La Niña Update

As you can see above, the sea surface temperatures off the west coast of South Amercia are still below average, but a "warmer than average pocket" has been forming just west of South America. We continue to believe that this La Niña episode is going to come to an end pretty soon. Water temperatures below the surface are also continuing to warm. The animation below shows that trend pretty clearly, with the coolest water being confined to the top 50 meters of the equatorial Pacific Ocean.

All of that orange and red that is migrating from left to right, is warmer than average water that has been pooled up in the Western Pacific Ocean. Its movement eastward continues to erode La Niña, and will return the ENSO region of the Pacific to "neutral" conditions. What happens after that? Well, a warm pool of subsurface water like that can portend a future El Niño. The model image below shows a gradual trend in that direction...

As you can see from the "spaghetti lines", quite a few of the models take us toward weak El Niño territory by the Fall. Right now, models can struggle with predicting what ENSO will do. Predictability should become more clear in the next couple of months, after the seasonal change takes place.

NMME Model

Precipitation Forecast

Temperature Forecast

NMME is showing drier than average and warmer than average for April, May, and June. Not sure I agree on how widespread the dryness and warmth shows up in the model, but I do agree with it impacting Southeast Colorado.


Precipitation Forecast

Temperature Forecast

JAMSTEC continues to show drier than average and warmer than average conditions through May. Again, no surprises here... I do like its look better than the NMME, as it bullseyes the area that has been the driest.

CFS Model

Precipitation Forecast

Temperature Forecast

The lone model that is showing wetter than average conditions for April, May, and June, is the CFS Model. While that would be a nice change, I still think drier than average is the way to go. Will it be warmer than average like the model suggests? Likely...

Southeast Colorado is likely going to be drier than average and warmer than average for April, May, and June. Drought will likely worsen before it gets better later this summer...