National Weather Service Confirms: It’s Been a Wet Monsoon
by Peter Shelton
Aug 26, 2010 | 4223 views | 6 6 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A WET MONSOON SEASON has led to an abundance of mushrooms, like this 27-pound puffball found by Cody Causey, shown here with his dog, Cauga, Tuesday on the Valley Floor. Higher up, porcinis (<i>boletus edulis</i>), hawkswings (<i>hydnum imbricatum</i>) and fly agarics (<i>amanita muscaria</i>) abound, and although some chanterelles have been found, they’re not as plentiful as in drier years. The easily indentifiable western giant puffball (<i>Calvatia booniana</i>) is a choice edible. (Photo by Brett Schreckengost)
A WET MONSOON SEASON has led to an abundance of mushrooms, like this 27-pound puffball found by Cody Causey, shown here with his dog, Cauga, Tuesday on the Valley Floor. Higher up, porcinis (boletus edulis), hawkswings (hydnum imbricatum) and fly agarics (amanita muscaria) abound, and although some chanterelles have been found, they’re not as plentiful as in drier years. The easily indentifiable western giant puffball (Calvatia booniana) is a choice edible. (Photo by Brett Schreckengost)
slideshow
Rainfall Totals in Ridgway and Ouray Well Above Average
OURAY COUNTY – Mudslides and mushrooms provide the anecdotal evidence: It has been a wet monsoon season, so far, a judgment confirmed by National Weather Service data for July and (most of) August.

Dick Crabb, NWS observer in Ridgway since 1982, took a look back at recent summers and compared them to the summer of 2010.

“It’s different,” Crabb said. “I know it’s been damper” than the previous three years.

“For the first 22 days of August, for example, Ridgway has seen 3.02 inches of rainfall. That compares with the 0.14 inches for the full month last year. The average since 2007 is just over 1 inch.

According to NWS meteorologist Megan Schweitzer in Grand Junction, the 28-year average August precipitation for Ridgway is 2.12 inches. So, for the last few years, August has been quite dry.

But the 2010 numbers, at more than 150 percent of the long-term average, are still impressive.

Ouray has seen a wet August as well. From Aug. 1-22, the rain gauge has measured 2.6 inches of moisture, compared to the monthly average of 2.34 inches. July was the truly wet month for Ouray, with 3.98 inches against an average 2.13 inches.

Conversely, Ridgway didn’t see nearly as much rainfall in July, with 1.66 inches of water, compared to an average 2.04 inches. It just shows the variability of mountain weather, a few miles up or downstream, from one month to the next.

Statewide the monsoon has delivered varied results as well. According to figures from the Colorado Climate Center in Boulder, July was very wet across parts of southern Colorado and the southeastern plains. Trinidad got drenched by 6.84 inches of rainfall in July, three times the average, while Cortez doubled its monthly average. Denver was wetter than usual, too, logging 3.7 inches of precipitation, 171 percent of normal.

Conversely, parts of central and northern Colorado stayed relatively dry. Grand Junction was only 70 percent of normal for July (though it has been wetter in August). Montrose was average for the month, with just over 1 inch of water. Blue Mesa Lake received a paltry 31 percent of normal rainfall. Greeley and Fort Collins were at 87 and 67 percent respectively. Yampa, in north-central Colorado, received only half its usual 2 inches in July.

The nature of monsoon rains, with thunderstorms dropping a lot of water in a short period of time over concentrated areas, means that many of these totals came in bursts, rather than in sustained precipitation over hours or days. This is especially true in La Niña years, like this year, when the monsoonal regime slides farther north into Colorado.

Will the monsoon continue? Late August typically brings an end to the pattern. Meteorologists like Schweitzer and seasoned observers like Crabb shy away from predicting very far into the future. Drier air is expected to prevail up to today (Thursday). Then, according to the NWS website, “monsoon moisture is expected to surge back into the region and remain over the area through Monday.”

Comments
(6)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
tea party
|
August 27, 2010
What an awesome mushroom !
anonymous
|
August 26, 2010
I see what you did there.... that caption reads much better.
Nommer
|
August 26, 2010
Antalapana, there are thousands of other giant Western puffballs that go undetected. Capturing one isn't going to devastate the natural order. And have you tasted a puffball seared with garlic and butter? (Dealing a blow to the garlic and dairy product population.)
anonymous
|
August 26, 2010
Im sure that Cody is really glad that you captioned the picture that he and his DOG were on the valley floor. Now some anti-dog nut job will probably be stalking him with a camera to try and "catch" him in the act to show the council members what a terrible place dogs have turned this town into even though he was probably not on the sacred part of the pasture.

He picked it ...
|
August 26, 2010
... in order to cook it and eat it, you jerk. Better than driving to Montrose and buying a plastic basket-full.
antalapana
|
August 25, 2010
Ummm...the puffball that guy was holding is the parent of trillions of new puffballs. He is a killer. Why would someone destroy a product of nature for the joy of having a photo taken. White people suck.