Scorching August sets record as Fort Collins’ hottest ever | The Coloradoan |

COLORADO-NEAR FORT COLLINS – NARA – 543712 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Interestingly enough, we were just discussing the change in summers here in northern Colorado. My conversation partner is a young woman who has lived a large percentage of her life here, and we were both remarking that things began to change during her High School years, how the heat had increased to the point that many times in summer it was a challenge to make yourself go outside.

This is quite a statement from someone who is clearly a fan of sun and warmth.

Northern Colorado was a wonderfully temperate place. When I was young and visited the Centennial State, the weather and the people were profoundly different enough to make me determined to move back to Colorado once I’d “grown up”.

Well, after almost a decade of struggles in the job market, I finally made it back. By this time it was 1988 and Colorado’s climate had begun to change. In 1998, due to the vagaries of life and work around the Defense Department, I moved to northern Colorado, just 50 miles south of the Wyoming border.

Here I am, in 2011, it’s hotter, drier, and the weather is weirder than I’ve seen in almost 24 years. Unfortunately, this all just confirms what I already know is happening around the world. Since I tolerate floods better than I tolerate heat, I may be looking to move farther north, possibly even moving to the other side of the Continental Divide. I haven’t decided yet. At present, we’ll see how things go. This chunk of Colorado is one of the few that has relatively minimal impacts, so it may be worth staying.

We’ll see.

Blazing summer proves to be fourth hottest

–>If this summer has seemed hotter than usual, it’s no illusion.

Last month was the hottest and fifth-driest August recorded in Fort Collins, and this summer has shaped up to be the fourth-hottest in 123 years of recordkeeping at Colorado State University.

This summer’s heat is part of a trend: The eight-hottest summers on record here have all occurred since 2000.

“The fact of the matter is, the state as a whole has had many of the warm summers since the late 1990s,” said Colorado State Climatologist Nolan Doesken.

“That’s consistent with what many climate scientists predict will be part of a response to greenhouse gas emissions. Whether we can make that direct tie, I don’t know, but it’s certainly a correlation.”

Eight temperature records were either tied or broken in August, with one of the hottest records shattered on Thursday when Fort Collins’ high of 97 degrees broke the previous Aug. 31 record of 95 set in 1960, according to Colorado Climate Center data released Thursday.

The highest temperature of the month was reached on Aug. 23, when the high of 98 degrees that day shattered the previous record of 94 set in 1919.

On Aug. 28, the nighttime temperature failed to dip below 65 degrees, shattering the record for highest low temperature for that date – 61 degrees – tied in 1929, 2002 and 2010.

The average temperature for August was 74.3 degrees, or 4.1 degrees above normal for the month, putting last month atop the list of hottest Augusts on record.

Not only was the month hot, but it was exceptionally dry, too. The city received only 0.16 inches of rain, 1.43 inches below normal for the month, which was the fifth driest ever in the city. The last year August saw less rain was 1974.

For the three-month summer season – June, July and August – this summer is the fourth hottest on record, with an average temperature of 72.2 degrees, only a few tenths of a degree below the all-time record set in 2006 when the average summer temperature was 72.8 degrees.

“We were clearly part of a large-scale regional persisting weather pattern,” Doesken said. “That heat wave and drought over Texas extended out in all directions.”

With the heat in Fort Collins rising to 91 degrees or higher, the first day of September didn’t break the heat wave.

However, it isn’t rare for 90-degree temperatures to occur in late summer and early fall. Fort Collins has even seen 90-degree heat in October, Doesken said.

The heat won’t last, though, said Don Day of DayWeather in Cheyenne, Wyo.

Cool air is expected to settle in over the weekend, with some areas of Northern Colorado expected to see high temperatures around 80 degrees on Saturday and Sunday.

The high on Sunday in Fort Collins is expected to be 75.

“The temperatures are going to start to inch back up Sunday and Monday,” Day said. “Next week, it looks very September-like. There’s a bit of a weak cool front coming in the middle to the end of next week. We’ll be returning a lot closer to normal.”