At least the animals haven’t started to pair up

Brief by Central Staff

Climate – September 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

At least the animals haven’t started to line up in pairs…

The meteorologists keep telling us that overall, this is a pretty normal year for Colorado weather. And maybe it is in a statistical sense, but it sure hasn’t felt that way on the ground.

Winter and spring were dry, and then in late April and early May, state river basins went from near-drought to normal storage and flow conditions.

June seemed hot and dry, as per usual.

But whereas July is usually that way too, with “scattered afternoon and evening thundershowers,” followed by an August monsoon season with regular rains; the monsoons hit early this year. There was almost daily rain from mid-July into August.

This year Tenderfoot Hill looks greener than we’ve ever seen it, even in May.

Still, despite boggy roads and soggy meadows that ruined or delayed some hay harvests, the only local flooding that came to our attention was above Saguache, where on July 25 a thunderstorm cell stalled. Middle Creek rose to spread across about half a mile of Colo. 114, which had to be closed.

It flows into Saguache Creek, which rose from 141 cusecs to 1,220 during the flood. Its normal summer flow is 70 to 80.

(A cusec, a/k/a cubic foot per second, a/k/a cfs, is a measure of water flow equivalent to 7.48 gallons a second, or about what you’d use if you could somehow flush a modern toilet 250 times in a minute. The CFS resembles the UFO in that there are few if any documented sightings of either.)

Elsewhere in the state, highways also had to be closed on account of floods and mudslides, leading to some long delays in the I-70 sacrifice zone.