Lingering monsoon still shaping high country forecast
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — The trend of economically motivated weather forecasting by some pundits in the high country is just about as persistent as this summer’s monsoon rains have been. Most recently, the local newspaper took a stab at predicting Labor Day weekend weather about a week ago, calling for dry and sunny conditions.
Well, guess what? Labor Day weekend is here, and it looks like it might be a good idea to keep a rain jacket handy, as the showery pattern is likely to persist for the next few days.
“This is likely to continue until we see a major shift in the upper air pattern over the West,” the National Weather Service wrote in its daily weather discussion, and looking outside at the thunderstorms building over Buffalo Mountain suggests that forecast might be fairly accurate.
More accurate, anyway, than a supposed “news” story that appeared to have been aimed at boosting local businesses by encouraging people to travel to the area with the expectation of good weather for the weekend’s special events.
Wouldn’t it be better to be honest and encourage visitors to be prepared for just about anything during an early September visit to the Colorado mountains? After all, we’ve seen snow this time of year — in fact, CDOT today reminded travelers that chain requirements are in effect starting this weekend, not that snow is likely in the current weather regime.
Why not tell people that the weather has generally been showery, which helped protect the area from fire, and helped spur a late-season resurgence of wildflowers. Showers or not, it’s an absolutely pleasant time to visit the high country.
Weather science shouldn’t be subverted for financial ends, as it so often has been, particularly by elements in the ski industry, which can’t seem to help themselves.
Last winter was a perfect example, as weather pundits — especially those associated with ski resort companies — starting early in the fall touting the supposed impacts of a second-year La Niña, even as true weather scientists cautioned that the repeat emergence of cooler-than-normal sea surface temps in the Pacific generally doesn’t bring extra snow to Colorado.
Weather forecasting is part science, part art, but it shouldn’t be speculation or hype.
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Snow and weather, Summit County Colorado, Summit County snow and weather, Weatherblog Tagged: | Colorado weather, Labor Day, monsoon, Summit County Colorado