Glorious Weather spells Trouble

To date, March as been sunny, dry and exceptionally warm along the Colorado Front Range.  While periods of mild weather are not unusual here (during any season of the year), March and April typically bring most of our annual moisture, dumped on the urban corridor by upslope snowstorms.  If this glorious weather persists, it will increase the risk of wildfire across the region and prompt increased water usage in suburban and agricultural areas.

Of course, the water supply for Metro Denver and other Front Range cities is provided primarily by snowmelt west of the Continental Divide and from river systems that rise among the high peaks of the Front Range; fortunately, the mountain snowpack has been decent this year.  On the other hand, demand for that water has increased in concert with the rampant growth of the region's population and we cannot afford to use that precious liquid to maintain our parks, lawns, golf courses and lush suburban landscapes.

We can hope for a change in the weather pattern, bringing upslope precipitation to the Front Range; indeed, in some years, April is snowier than March.  Over the long run, we can certainly plant native shrubs and grasses that thrive in a semiarid climate and thus reduce the need for artificial irrigation.  We may also be bailed out by an early and stormy Southwest Monsoon.  But, if this sunny, dry weather persists, trouble is certain to follow.