DENVER (KDVR) – There’s no doubt that Colorado has been windier than normal the last few weeks, but why is that so?
Looking at the data, 61% of the last 40 days have had above average wind speeds in Denver.
Spring is usually Colorado’s windiest time of the year, but this year it has been more extreme.
One of the contributing factors has been the jet stream. Every spring, the jet stream starts to shift from its winter location to its summer location.
During the spring, the jet stream sits right over Colorado keeping winds strong all the way down to the surface. The jet stream sits about 4 to 8 miles above the surface.
The jet stream positioned over Colorado keeps the storm track over Colorado bringing through multiple cold fronts a month all while keeping the winds gusty.
What sets this year apart from others is the strong La Niña that’s in place.
La Niña happens when sea surface temperatures are colder than normal in the central Pacific Ocean. This sets up a weather pattern that keeps Colorado windy.
This year is one of the strongest La Niñas since 2000 and the wind is likely a result of that.
Along with the wind, the Front Range is in a moderate to severe drought, which is keeping fire danger high.
As of Wednesday, May 11, Denver has tied the record for the most fire weather warnings year-to-date with 23 having already been issued in 2022.
Looking ahead, the summer climate outlooks by the Climate Prediction Center predict a high chance for drier and warmer than average weather. La Niña is also expected to stay in place through the end of summer.
These factors could potentially lead to more wind and high fire danger throughout the next few months.