Hot, dry, windy — and dangerous

Brief by Central Staff

Climate – July 2000 – Colorado Central Magazine

It’s dry. How dry? The June 1 snowpack report from the National Resources Conservation Service put Colorado’s snowpack at only 14% of average, the lowest since they started keeping records.

That’s partly because last winter had below-normal snowfall, a

The Arkansas River’s flow peaked in late May; normally the runoff crests at FIBArk time, the third weekend in June. The Angel of Shavano usually looks most angelic around the Fourth of July; this year, she was at her best on Memorial Day.

Hot and dry also means high fire danger, as evidenced by the Cerro Grande fire in New Mexico, and in Colorado, an April blaze that destroyed several structures at Great Sand Dunes National Monument, then in June, wildfires that were creating homeless refugees west of Loveland and in the Bailey area.

Consequently, as we went to press, fire restrictions were in place through Central Colorado. Mainly that means no campfires except in established pits in developed campgrounds, but it also means no smoking in the national forests, except in designated areas. (We’re expecting at any moment to receive a press release from the Purity League, praising Colorado for banning outdoor smoking.)

Of course, in Salida we kind of expect FIBArk to be a magical drought-breaker. The combination of outdoor concerts, Art in the Park, parade, booths, carnival, and crowds clad in shorts and T-shirts has often precipitated rain, wind and cold in previous years. So by the time you read this, we just may be in flood mode.