Rollercoaster out West; Strongest May La Nina since 2000

Tomer’s Take:

  • Latest La Nina May readings show -1.2C water temp anomalies (NINO 3.4 region). This is the strongest May La Nina since 2000.
  • This means La Nina is driving the overall Western pattern.
  • Western trough stays in place through 5/13 then higher pressures rebuild.
  • What about the rest of May? Lower pressures could move back in from 5/19 through 5/31.
  • A powerful western jet stream keeps strong winds across the Intermountain West through 5/13 then wind relaxes.
  • Blowing dust continues to be a significant problem. In some places like UT and CO this is the most dust since 2009.

La Nina

The latest forecasts keep La Nina in place through Fall 2022.

Current Setup

Infrared satellite shows the storm track and storm systems lined-up.

Infrared satellite 5/11/2022 6am.

High Pressure Transition

High pressure rebuilds across most of the Intermountain West on 5/14.

Forecast pressure anomalies valid 5/15, GFS interpretation.

Wind Gust Forecast

Gusts (MPH)5/115/125/135/14
Crestone Peak70754030
Quandary Peak45554535
Mount Sneffels60503030
Humphreys Peak60302530
Wheeler Peak45504035
Kings Peak60353540

Dirty Snowpack

Dust radiative forcing shows just how high the dust concentration is in Colorado (orange/red dots), especially in the Southern Mountains where it’s forcing the snowpack to melt faster than normal.

Dust radiative forcing 5/11/2022.

Snow Forecast


Inches of total snow 5/11-5/20.

3 thoughts on “Rollercoaster out West; Strongest May La Nina since 2000

  1. ira curry

    Chris, I have lived in Salida, CO for 41 years and am a native. I do not remember a Spring this windy. Not a break day after day. Snowpack is sad. The dust layers and evaporative loss are not good signs…

    1. christomer Post author

      Thanks, Ira. This is the windiest period on record for several locations. The pattern is following La Nina architecture, which is the strongest since 2000 by May standards. The dust transport is destroying the snowpack in the Southern Mountains. Chris


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