Climate: El Niño could extend Pacific Northwest drought

NOAA updates seasonal outlook; El Niño likely to persist into spring


Warmer than average sea surface temperatures prevail across most of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean, as El Niño continues to strengthen.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Federal weather experts today said they’re more sure than ever that a strong El Niño will persist through the fall and winter, but they are less certain about how the cyclical Pacific Ocean climate pattern will play out across the U.S. The Aug. 13 El Niño update and diagnostic discussion is online here — it says there’s a 90 percent chance El Niño will last through the winter and an 85 percent chance it will last into early spring 2016.

During an El Niño, sea surface temperatures are above average across the eastern and central equatorial Pacific, and this year’s event could be among the strongest on record dating back to 1950, said Mike Halpert, deputy director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. Continue reading

Climate: U.S. July 2015 temperature near average

More heat records set in Pacific Northwest


Ten states reported slightly cooler than average temps in July 2015.

Staff Report

FRISCO — July 2015 was record-warm across a large part of the Pacific Northwest and the southern tip of Florida, and well above average for most of the West, with near- to below average temperatures in a big swath extending from the central U.S. into the Northeast.

Taken all together, the monthly average temperature for the lower 48 states was 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average, ranking near the middle in the 121-year period of record, according to the latest monthly update from the National Climatic Data Center.
Continue reading

Climate: NOAA updates 2015 hurricane outlook

A NASA visualization of Hurricane Floyd approaching the Florida coast.

Will there be a major hurricane in 2015?

Increased odds of below-average season enhanced by strengthening El Niño and cool Atlantic sea surface temps

Staff Report

FRISCO — A strengthening El Niño and cooler than average sea surface temperatures across parts of the Atlantic Ocean may further dampen hurricane activity this summer, federal weather experts said this week in the updated 2015 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook.

According to the National Hurricane Center, says there’s a 90 percent chance of a below-average season — but that doesn’t mean coastal residents should let their guard down.

“Tropical storms and hurricanes can and do strike the United States, even in below-normal seasons and during El Niño events,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “Regardless of our call for below-normal storm activity, people along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts should remain prepared and vigilant, especially now that the peak months of the hurricane season have started.” Continue reading

Climate: June 2015 the 2d-warmest on record

Western U.S. bakes under record heat


Four states in the Far West reported record-warm January – June temperatures.

Staff Report

FRISCO — With an average temperature of 2.9 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average, last month was the second-warmest June on record for the contiguous United States, ranking behind June 1933, according to the latest monthly update from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.

The West was sweltering, as five states (California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Utah) set all-time June temperature records. Wyoming, Montana and Nevada reported June temps that were in the all-time top five, while Colorado and New Mexico’s June readings were in the top ten warmest on record. Continue reading

May was a drought-buster for eastern Colorado

Wet summer ahead?


May precipitation broke the all-time record for Colorado.

Every part of Colorado saw above normal precipitation in Many.

Every part of Colorado saw above normal precipitation in May.

Staff Report

FRISCO — May brought drought-busting precipitation to much of Colorado, state climate experts said last week during their monthly Water Availability Task Force meeting in Denver.

The beneficial moisture erased a long-running drought in southeastern Colorado and also helped boost the streamflow outlook in the Rio Grande Basin, where a meager winter snowpack had lowered expectations for summer runoff.

By contrast, the far western third of the state is still designated as experiencing abnormally dry conditions by the National Drought Monitor, which also shows a pocket of moderate drought across western Gunnison and much of Delta counties. Continue reading

Hurricane Carlos raking the Mexican Riviera

Strengthening El Niño fueling tropical storms in eastern Pacific


A NOAA satellite image shows Hurricane Carlos strengthening off southern Mexico.


Hurricane Carlos is moving slowly northwestward along the southern Coast of Mexico. Via National Hurricane Center.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Taking a track parallel to the southern coast of Mexico, Hurricane Carlos has spurred warnings and watches along a long section of shoreline. Parts of southern Mexico could get pummeled by high winds, rain and surf the next few days, although the National Hurricane Center says the the storm’s path is still uncertain.

For now, a hurricane warming is in effect from Punta San Telmo to Tecpan de Galeana, with a hurricane watch extending west from Punta san Telmo to Manzanillo. Carlos is generating winds of about 80 mph and could strengthen in the next couple of days, with winds of up to 90 mph as it nears the coast. Continue reading

Colorado: Big flows expected in Blue River

Good news for boaters


Healthy streamflows and good boating in the Blue River Basin. @bberwyn photo.


Blue River snowpack still growing.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Late-season storms have helped boost snowpack in the Blue River to near last year’s level, promising healthy runoff and flows in Summit County, according to Denver Water.

The effects of the steady barrage of spring storms is already showing up the Lower Blue River, where flows are increasing due to increased releases from Dillon Reservoir, according to Denver Water, which won’t be diverting water through the Roberts Tunnel until mid-July at the earliest. Continue reading


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