High wind warnings and dry conditions: Colorado’s chaotic April weather set menacing records

April typically brings strong winds as well as precipitation from a late-season snowstorm or early thunderstorms, Rodriguez said. Instead, the US Drought Monitor showed much of the plains fell into a severe drought as the month progressed.

“If we don’t see precipitation during our windiest time of year, that obviously has a major impact on fire danger,” he said.

The drought is should persist in the summer in the Denver metro area, according to the National Integrated Drought Information System. Models from the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center also suggest the next three months will be warmer and drier than normal around the state.

Rodriguez said there was a silver lining last month: Decent and consistent snowstorms in the north-central mountains brought the regional snowpack down to near-normal levels.

Snow levels were below average in the southern half of the state in late April, with the San Luis Valley registering less than half of its normal levels, according to the USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Center.

Experts say drier and warmer conditions across the West are being made worse by human-caused climate change. Lack of rain and strong winds fueled the destructive Marshall Fire and several other blazes that blazed across eastern Colorado last month.

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