Colorado is preparing for a monsoonal rainy season, but it is completely dry

In Colorado, we tend to think of the monsoon season as the part of the summer when we can expect thunderstorms every day. Does Colorado really experience a “monsoon season” and if so, when, for how long, and what impact does it have on the state?

Some weather services have already released their predictions for July 2023. The Farmer’s Almanac has recorded expectations for “Hot Temps.” On the other hand, the Farmer’s Almanac predicts that it may be a wet summer with “torrential rains and major thunderstorms.”

Is monsoon the correct term?

In my opinion, a monsoon is a summer wind in Southeast Asia that brings with it a ton of rain. Does the term really apply to Colorado? According to National Geographic, a monsoon is “…a seasonal change in the direction of a region’s strongest or prevailing winds.”

monsoon season in Colorado

Yesterday, May 29, 2023, as I was carrying five gallon buckets of water to various trees and shrubs around my property, I found myself praying for the arrival of the monsoon season. Granted, it would be easy to just install a drip system and be done with it, but that hasn’t happened yet.

According to Colorado State University, “The North American Monsoon (or NAM) is a change in wind pattern that allows moisture to continually flow from the Gulf of California into the normally arid southwestern region of the country.” The site adds: “This typically happens when strategically centered high pressure and low pressure sit over the region.”

Months with the Most Precipitation in Colorado

In southwestern Colorado, the effects of the North American monsoon are evident, with the heaviest months being July, August, and September. However, if you look at the Denver area, the effects of the Colorado monsoon season are not as clear cut. For the Denver region, the month with the most precipitation is in late spring. But, according to Colorado State University, a secondary peak appears around the time of NAM.

For those in northeast Colorado, in the third example, the effects of NAM are not apparent. For this region, maximum precipitation occurs in early summer and dissipates after that.

Can we mark this on our calendar?

In Colorado, it will rain or it will not rain. On the other hand, it may snow, or it may not. Predicting the weather in Colorado is like taking a monkey, putting a blindfold on it, taking it into a room and spinning it about a dozen times, and then having it throw darts at a dartboard. Sooner or later, the monkey is bound to hit something.

However, if you want to mark the date on your calendar, Coloradoan reports that the official first day of the North American monsoon season is June 15.

Scroll through the worst tornadoes ever recorded in Colorado

Colorado has had some nasty tornadoes over the years, and sadly, even a few lives have been lost to it. Here are 35 of the worst tornadoes Colorado has ever seen.