Phew, we sure felt the heat this September. Summer weather came in like a lamb and went out like a lion this year. In fact, many cities in Colorado saw their warmest September in recorded history! This includes Colorado Springs, Pueblo, and Denver Stapleton. Alamosa and Fort Collins also had noteworthy months, coming in at the 2nd warmest.
The average temperature for the month was 72.8° in Pueblo, beating the record of 72° set in 2015. For Colorado Springs, the average temperature in September 2019 was 68.7°, blowing away the previous record for 67.3° set in 2015. Notice that 4 out of 5 of the warmest Septembers for both cities were recent, in the 2010's.
CO Springs and Pueblo had the warmest Septembers on record in 2019, beating old records by a long shot. These numbers represent the mean temperature averaged over the month. Tune into @KOAA at 5 and 6 pm to discuss impacts of this late summer heat. #COwx pic.twitter.com/hvgAGIlDbm— Alex O'Brien (@WXAlexOBrien) October 1, 2019
Okay, we've got the numbers, but how does this effect me or my neighbor? Some impacts are important right now, regarding fire danger and water.
Last month, 17.5% of the state was under abnormally dry conditions, according to the US Drought Monitor. As of September 24, 55.1% of the state is abnormally dry.
Peter Goble, a climatologist and drought specialist at the Colorado Climate Center, says "we were fortunate to have a nice wet winter which will mitigate those impacts, but that keeps demand for water higher than a usual September. And it's also important from a fire stand point... it extends what we are used to thinking about as being our normal fire season."
In terms of the temperature outlook for fall and winter, there is a chance of seeing above average temperatures into the cool season. But Goble asserts that "incredibly warm September has no bearing on that." He also makes note of the highly variable weather conditions that Colorado can have, and that this isn't the indicator for a warm winter. This kind of forecast turns more towards longer term climate patterns, not anomalous monthly weather patterns.
For all you snow lovers out there, it is still too early to give an accurate forecast for winter precipitation. The current outlook from the Climate Prediction center shows a 40% chance of above average precipitation through December. Sometimes we can look at the ENSO (El Nino or La Nina) trends for long term climate forecasts, but we are currently in a neutral state, so those impacts are minimal at this time.