Is the "monsoon’ upon us? | VailDaily.com
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Is the "monsoon’ upon us?

Cliff Thompson

And you might be right – or wrong.

In fact, the question of whether the monsoon season and its much-needed rains have arrived is subject to some disagreement. Like the weather itself, whether the monsoon has begun depends on which source you listen to.

“This isn’t a bonafide monsoon,” says Gary Chancy, a weather specialist with the National Weather Service. “It’s kind of a fake monsoon. It’s just not that impressive.”



Scientist Klaus Wolter at the Colorado University, however, seems to think it has begun, indeed.

“The monsoon season started a little late for Arizona, where the moisture came in July 10,” Wolter says. “For Colorado, the big humidity increase happened July 4, along with a fair number of thunderstorms, both in the mountains and just to the east of Boulder. … So in my book we had an early onset.”



In a typical monsoon, Chancy explains, a high-pressure system parks itself on the Texas panhandle and its clockwise air flow pushes moisture northward to Colorado from as far away as Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. That flow produces regular heavy afternoon and evening rain showers.

The rain we’re seeing now, however, has been spotty, Chancy adds, as a high-pressure system parks itself over Colorado and Wyoming. What moisture we have had has filtered through the high.

It doesn’t look like things will be changing by month’s end, either.



The 10-day forecast calls for a continuation of the weather pattern, with some drier conditions, Chancy says.

“It looks like a high will remain situated over Colorado,” he says.

Long-range predictions indicate precipitation in Colorado will be normal, or slightly above normal, for the rest of the summer.

Regardless of the professional difference of opinion, the moisture is badly needed. The state is experiencing its worst drought in 125 years.

In June, Avon received 0.08″ of rain. The long-term average for Avon is 1.07 inches.

Streams and reservoirs are low or have slowed to a trickle. The Eagle River in Gypsum, for example, is flowing at 155 cubic feet per second, or just 21 percent of its historical mean.


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