From The Greeley Tribune (Whitney Phillips):
For the first time in years, a weatherman had good news for local farmers and ranchers, telling them on Thursday that they’ll likely see normal amounts of moisture over the next year. Brian Bledsoe, chief meteorologist with KKTV in Colorado Springs, told attendees of the 2013 Colorado Ag Classic in Loveland that weather patterns show no signs of drought in the coming year. He said without the presence of El Niño or La Niña patterns that mess with normal weather, most of Colorado will likely see reasonable amounts of moisture — something Bledsoe said he hasn’t predicted in years.
“It’s gonna snow,” he said. “(We’re) much, much more optimistic about the weather patterns than we were a year ago.”
Snow, not rain, will be most crucial in getting moisture levels back up, he said. Bledsoe said most of the state, with the exception of portions of the state south of Interstate 70, has come out of devastating droughts that have plagued Colorado. Bledsoe said wet weather has helped immensely in getting farmers and ranchers back on track.
“To say that we’ve erased a large part of the drought I think is an understatement,” he said.
A full recovery, though, may take a decade, he said.
Bledsoe cautioned those in the agricultural community, especially those in the southern part of Colorado, to go forward with plans in mind to combat a lack of water.
“Most farmers and ranchers, especially the younger ones, do not even have a drought plan,” he said. “This drought problem is not going to go way just because it rains for a few months.”
Bledsoe said he predicts colder-than-normal weather to stick around for the next month and a half, bringing little precipitation. But there are indicators that helpful spring moisture will arrive right on time.
“I’m actually a little more optimistic as far as moisture in the spring time,” he said.
He added that monsoon season, which normally arrives in July, should bring normal to slightly above-normal precipitation.
“I think most people would settle for normal, whatever that is anymore,” Bledsoe said.
Overall, Bledsoe said the weather systems he monitors across the globe are all indicating there will be good news here in Colorado.
“The trend there is no monster drought signals are reappearing over our state,” he said.
Bledsoe said, though, his confidence level in his prediction is “a little bit lower than normal.
“I would caution you to say my standards (for predicting weather) are pretty high,” he said. “I’m feeling OK about seeing some moisture this year.”