Temperatures continue to soar in Alamosa

A September 8, 2020 surprise snowstorm brought heavy, wet snow over much of the San Luis Valley, downing tree limbs and some entire trees, causing some isolated power outages. Workers remove a large limb from the front porch roof of the Glen and Doris Abeyta home at Third and West Avenue in 2020. Courier file photo by Keith R. Cerny

New high set on Wednesday, warm weather to continue

ALAMOSA – The high temperature in Alamosa on Wednesday was 88 degrees, setting a record for Sept. 7.

Temperatures in Alamosa continue to rise 10-to-15 degrees above average as a high-pressure system has settled above the Great Basin.

The ridge causes high temperatures and low traces of precipitation, according to Mark Wankowski, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service Pueblo.

“There’s a big ridge of high pressure across the Great Basin and when you have high pressure, you have high subsidence in the atmosphere so instead of having things rise there’s a sinking motion in the atmosphere,” he said. “So, you don’t see any precipitation and have very warm temperatures.

“So, put those two together and you’ll see abnormally high temperatures.”

The average high temperature for Sept. 6 in Alamosa is 77 degrees. The high, Wankowski said, was 88 on Tuesday.

The system is always present in the Western United States, Wankowski said. It is present during late summer and fall. The system impacts different regions each year.

“It just depends where it sets up,” he said. “Sometimes it’s across the desert Southwest, sometimes it’s off the West Coast and sometimes it’s off the Rockies. It’s a semi-permanent feature throughout the fall.”

While temperatures have been hot and dry, Wankowski did say that Alamosa has seen a record year for precipitation.

Due to a good monsoon season, 6.69 inches of rain fell in July and August. That is 3.9 inches more than the average precipitation totals during that timeframe. The previous record was 6.01 inches in 2001.

Alamosa has already surpassed its yearly average in precipitation, Wankowski said.

“Alamosa has already seen more precipitation through the year, since January, than normal,” he said. “Since Jan. 1, through Sept. 5, Alamosa has seen 8.6 inches of precipitation. Six inches of that came in July and August.”

Normal precipitation is around 7.98 inches a year, according to Wankowski.

“Alamosa saw a great amount … a great deal ... of precipitation in the summer due to the monsoon season,” he said. “It set a record for most precipitation in summer.”

When looking ahead to the rest of fall, Wankowski said it would continue to be warm and dry.

There will be a short relief from the heat this weekend, Wankowski said."There is a system moving across the Pacific Northwest that will push the upper-high to the south and southwest of Colorado," he said. It will be a little bit cooler. The high Friday will be 79 then 72 on Saturday before more normal temperatures on Sunday."

Warm temperatures will then return next week, he said.

"And then we start warming back up again into next week as that ridge of high pressure builds back across the Rockies," he said.

Luke Lyons is the managing editor of the Valley Courier. He can be reached via email at [email protected]

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