Too big to fail.
This year’s version of the warming surface water in the Pacific Ocean was supposed to blast much of California and other western states with potentially record-setting moisture. If you’re keeping up with climate news, California in particular could use the water.
So why is Denver Water watching the weather in California so closely? One reason is that water resources for Colorado and California are closely linked. Any moisture California gets is good for Colorado and the entire Colorado River Basin.
“It’s difficult to credit El Nino for all of our weather this winter,” said Laurna Kaatz, climate adaptation program manager for Denver Water. “El Nino typically increases precipitation across the southwest, and our Rocky Mountains are right on the fringe of this area. So El Nino can influence our weather, but it’s not the only factor.”
It’s also difficult to predict what the rest of the winter and early spring will bring in terms of moisture for Colorado, as each El Nino pattern is different. But there are some historical patterns to study.
“Past El Nino cycles have usually brought moisture to Southern Colorado,” Kaatz said. “The three-month outlook calls for above-normal precipitation in Colorado, but nothing is certain here in terms of weather, given our location and topography.”
Of course, as long as the snow keeps piling up in our mountains, we don’t care if it’s El Nino or El-Nacho Libre causing the stir. We’ll take all we can get, especially with Colorado’s unpredictable weather.