The Weather Wire
June 2004 Volume 11 Number 6
Avg High 73.9
Avg Low 44.7
Snow - TR
Season Snow - 38.0"
Precipitation - 3.64
Avg High 82.1
Avg Low 53.0
Avg Snow - 0
Avg Precip - 1.56"
As mentioned in previous articles in this newsletter we along the Front Range live in a semi-arid climate receiving on average 15-16 inches of precipitation annually. Combine that with an ever increasing population in eastern Colorado, which is drawing on a limited water supplies. Water projects have fallen by the wayside in part due to some over zealous environmentalists, leaving Colorado on the fine line of continuous water shortages. Due to the drought of the past 4 years some of these projects may be revived, but they are still many years away.
So at this point with no let up in the building that is being allowed in many areas of Colorado where will we get the water for all the new water customers let alone take care of the current ones?? Other than hoping that the skies will open up and the rains will come, part of the answer comes with water conservation. Already many cities in Colorado limit the amount of outdoor watering to 2-3 days per week. The majority of water used by the typical homeowner is used for the outdoor landscaping. There are many ways to make this as painless as possible. First if you have a sprinkler system make sure it is good working order, check for leaks, broken heads or dirty heads and have them fixed. Turn on the system and make sure your system covers all areas of your landscaping to make sure you will not have dry spots. Adjust your heads so that a minimal amount of water hits driveways or sidewalks.
If you do not have a sprinkler system and have to drag hoses and sprinklers one of the first things you want to do is figure out how much water your particular system puts out per 15 minutes. This is simply accomplished by putting out 3-4 empty cans then turning on your sprinkler. Keep it on for 15 minutes and then measure the amount of water in each can. Add them all up and then divide by the number of cans. This will give you the amount of water put out in 15 minutes. Multiply by 4 and you have the amount per hour. Why go to all this trouble??? Because, now using the ET (Evapotransporation Rate) which is available every day in the paper or on line at www.denverwater.org, you will know how long to leave your sprinkler on before moving it to the next area. The Denver Water Department figures the ET for every day. Just add up the Ets for the days before you water and that will be the amount you need to water on your watering day. I know this sounds like a lot of work, but the alternative is not a pretty one. During the several years I lived in Puerto Rico, we went through 3 or 4 dry seasons. Down there they have a different way to implement restrictions. On your none watering day they just turn off your water for 24 hours. I kid you not! Iím sure you will agree that voluntary restrictions are a better way to go, but only if we all make the effort to save!
On your watering day do not water during the heat of the day. Much of the water that you put down will be lost and evaporated by the heat of the sun. The best times to water are in the evening around sunset or the early morning hours between 3-6 am. Many people just set their systems for a set amount of time and let it go, but you can go another step. Survey your property look for areas of sun and shade. If you have multiple zones adjust the time for zones that cover mostly shady areas down a bit as those areas donít need as much water. And for those zones that cover areas in direct sunlight adjust those upward a bit as the sun will dry those areas out faster. For flower beds and vegetable gardens watering by hand will put the water right where you want it, but soaker hoses work even better and reduce the amount of water in those areas. Use mulch in your flowerbeds and it will help retain water.
When preparing new areas whether it be for sod, flowers or vegetables, always prep the soil with top soil, compost and soil amendments. A properly prepared soil will need less water! One of the soil amendments that is gaining popularity are landscape polymers. These dry crystals absorb water and feed it back to the plant roots as the roots grow into the water-swollen crystals. The crystals are easily mixed with the soil as you plant you flowers and vegetables. There are even local companies that can inject polymers into existing landscape and turf areas. With polymers introduced into the outdoor landscaping watering can be reduced 30-50%. One such company, Rocky Mountain Polymer can be reached at 303-284-2259.
As we go through the heat of the summer will have more tips on saving water, both inside and outside the house.
In many portions of Colorado, May 2004 saw below normal precipitation. Despite the somewhat dry conditions, drought conditions did not worsen across the state for May.
The map below shows forecasted temperature deviances for the June 2004 time period. As can be seen, normal or near normal temperatures are expected for all of Colorado for June.
The map below shows forecasted precipitation deviances for June 2004. Normal or near normal precipitation is expected for June 2004 all of Colorado.
As can be seen in the below map, drought conditions are expected to continue to persist across much of the state through August, thought some improvement is noted in portions of southern Colorado.
...11TH MONTH IN A ROW WITH BELOW NORMAL PRECIPITATION...
Denver has now registered 11 months in a row with below normal precipitation.. Only two significant storms hit the metro area, one on the 12th-13th producing 0.81 inch and the other on the 29th that totaled 0.47 inch.. Three other days measured a total of only 0.11 inch. The monthís total was 1.30 inches which was 1.02 inches below normal. Again it should be noted that many areas throughout the metro area received much more rainfall than did the gage at DIA.
Most of the precipitation during May fell as rain, but a trace of snow was measured at old Stapleton. This was 1.3 inches below normal for the month of May. For the season as a whole (July through May) a total of 38.0 inches of snow was recorded. Coming in 23.7 inches below the average of 61.7 inches. In the past 10 years, Denver has been below the 61.7 inch average eight times.
On the temperature side of things May 2004 finished with an average of 59.3 degrees, which is 2.1 degrees above normal. This was not warm enough to get into the top 10 warmest months. Holding down the 10th warmest slot was 60.9 degrees set in 1963 and 1956. The hottest may occurred in 1934 with a 64.6 degree average. May temperatures ranged from a high of 88 degrees down to a low of 28 degrees recorded on the 1st.
June is the Severe Weather month for Denver!
Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes are notorious in Denver and across eastern Colorado during June. Over 40 percent of the tornadoes that occur in Colorado are observed in June. These June tornadoes, some of the most destructive in Colorado history and the June severe thunderstorms have caused major property damage in and near the Denver Metro area.
Some of the more notable tornadoes occurred in: Thornton on June 3, 1981. Southeast Denver and Aurora on June 8, 1986 and east Denver on June 13, 1984. In addition on June 13, 1984 a powerful thunderstorm dumped large hail across the metro area in one of the worst and costliest storms in Denver history. During June 2001, a major hail storm moved across DIA on the 20th dropping hailstones as large as two inches in diameter. Damage was extensive in and near the airport.
Even though there are frequent tornado occurrences in eastern Colorado during June, there has not bee a tornado related death since 1960. However, there have been several deaths attributed to lightning during June.
Cool weather can still occur in early June. The latest freeze on record in Denver occurred on June 2, 1951 when the mercury dropped to 30 degrees. This is also the record low temperature for June.
Snow has been reported in the city as late as June 11th when in 1947 a trace of snow was reported. The wettest June was 1882 with 4.96 inches and the driest June was 1890 with only a trace of precipitation was recorded. The maximum 24 hour precipitation was 3.16 inches on June 11, 1970.
By the end of June the mercury has been known to climb to 100 degrees or higher. The record high temperature for June is 104 degrees set June 26th 1994. other high temperature records reaching 100 degrees or greater are: 102 set June 23rd 1954; 102 set June 27th 1990, June 29th 1990 and June 30th 1990; 100 degrees set June 25th 1991. The warmest June occurred in 1994 with an average temperature of 73.5 degrees. The coldest June was 60.6 degrees in 1967.
Sunrise/Sunset (Denver area)