12:15pm

Mon July 9, 2012
Environment

Will Colorado's Wet Weather Last?

Colorado's fire ban has been lifted. There are hopes that more rain is on the way.

Governor John Hickenlooper lifted the state's fire ban on Sunday citing recent wet weather and the promise of more on the way. Hickenlooper was quick to point out the state is ready for tourism, saying "We wanted to make sure that the moment we got a change in the weather, the moment Mother Nature began to smile on us again, we wanted to rescind the fire ban and make sure people knew we're ready," he said. "That we were open for business."

Klaus Wolter, a meteorologist at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences in Boulder says smoky conditions along the front range from recent wildfires in Wyoming and Colorado have actually hampered the formation of thunderstorms for weeks. Wolter says more rain could be in store for this summer from the newly forming El Niño weather pattern.

“The impact of El Niño is that is makes it wetter in the lower elevations in Colorado for most of the year except maybe January, February. So basically from here on out until December, this stacks the deck if you will or tilts the odds to having wetter conditions, so that’s good,” said Wolter. 

While rain may help lessen the fire risk  the El Niño weather won’t help snow pack levels in the mountains this winter because the effect ultimately reverses in mid-winter, making for dryer conditions.

Fire forecasters say a weaker than average snow pack that melted earlier than usual this year is among the reasons for the intense 2012 fire season.