Lack of monsoon season causes more concern for upper Rio Grande basin
ALAMOSA just experienced its driest August ever, .01 inches of precipitation. The year also has seen Alamosa tie or break 12 high temperature records, according to the National Weather Service in Pueblo.
Don’t let the raindrops in the forecast fool you, either. What little precipitation falls now won’t change the trends of a warmer San Luis Valley and the challenges the change in climate is bringing to the Valley’s surface water and groundwater management practices. The average temperature this year to date is running 3.1f above the long term average for the January-to-July period.
Why it matters
“The concern for me is, we’re in months like August when we expect to get some of the monsoonal moisture,” said Heather Dutton, manager of the San Luis Valley Water Conservancy District, “and when we don’t, we go into the winter time dry. Even if we get above average precipitation in the winter months we can’t expect average stream flows in the spring because the moisture has to go back into wetting the landscape that was dried out this summer.”
If you’re looking for a silver lining, 2021 isn’t as warm as 2020. But then again, the January to July period of 2020 was also the 9th warmest of the past 73 years for maximum temperatures, according to NWS data.
Alamosa Record Temps 2021
Aug. 28 Temp 87, tied the record set in 2017
July 10 Temp 94, old record of 92 set in 2020 and 1992
July 9 Temp 92, tied the record set in 2003
July 8 Temp 91, tied the record set in 1989
June 17 Temp 92, old record of 89 set in 2012
June 16 Temp 94, old record of 87 set in 1950.
June 15 Temp 90, tied the record set in 1946 and 2000
June 14 Temp 91, old record of 88 set in 1952 and 2004
June 13 Temp 90. old record of 88 set in 1946
June 12 Temp 89, old record of 88 set in 1946
April 4 Temp 72, old record 71 set in 1943
April 3 Temp 72, old record 70 set in 1954
*National Weather Service data