Most everyone for the last few years has been worried about water for one reason or another, and precipitation has been in the hopes — and prayers — for many in the Norwood area. Thankfully, monsoons have been more abundant this summer. Kris Sanders, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, said the recent rains have actually made a slight difference.
“What happens when we see the monsoons in the summertime is the high pressure develops over the region … It’s a clockwise flow around that brings moisture in from the Gulf and Pacific,” he told The Norwood Post early Monday morning. “It depends on where the high pressure is situated to fuel storms in the afternoon.”
Sanders said it is happening this year. The high pressure is in the right place, directly overhead or a bit to the East and putting Wright’s Mesa in a favorable position. According to him, high pressure systems tend to move around and drift a ways, so that the storms come around — and then it may dry up a bit, but moisture comes back.
He said generally there’s been enough high pressure to fuel some afternoon thunderstorms, and the San Juans have been in a good spot for it.
While there is no sensor in Norwood, there is one in Placerville. The observation point there since mid-June has measured 6 inches or more. Telluride has received closer to eight inches. There is a Snowtel measurement device at the Lone Cone, however. That device says three inches of rain have fallen there since June. Sanders said it may be closer to four inches on parts of Wright’s Mesa though.
In terms of normalcy, the meteorologist said he couldn’t be sure, but it’s been enough to slightly improve the area’s drought rating.
At the beginning of summer, all of San Miguel County and most of the San Juans were in a D-2 drought status. The drought status goes as high as D-4, which is the worst category. Now, Norwood is on the fence and slowly improving. San Miguel County is straddling a D-1 and D-2 drought status currently. Some parts of the area are a bit better than they were.
“Storms have been forming in the San Juans and moving off, and there’s been some improvement since the beginning of June,” he said.
Now, for the next week or two, the weather pattern is projected to stay in effect. That means while some days this week may be dry, there is a big surge set to roll in this weekend. For those looking for rainfall, it may be on the way.
Sanders said 2018 and 2019 were very dry for the Norwood area — something those working in farming and ranching already know too well. Then, the monsoons were nearly nonexistent. Those with raw water have also been more than disappointed at the irrigation water being cut off early for lawns and gardens. For many on Wright’s Mesa, having better than normal chances for rain this summer is a welcome relief.
Sanders said he understood the importance of precipitation.
“The lifestyle depends on the weather down there,” he said.