Looking back over it, wow…what a month we had. June is typically one of our warmer and wetter months of the year but this June was the opposite. I explained the upcoming forecast for June early in the month and aside from a few extremes that occurred, the forecast was right.
June started off rather cool with highs well below normal but in no time, the forecast called for the first 90º heat of the year to warm us up. With the heat came the expected afternoon thunderstorms and as is typical in June in Colorado, these “pop up” storms can really dazzle and impress and my goodness did the storm on June 7th do just that.
A landspout tornado formed near Firestone, CO and due to the atmospheric conditions at the time, not only was this one of the tallest and most intense landspouts in Colorado records, but it was also one of the most viewed landspout tornados ever with tens of thousands of people being able to see this intense weather phenomenon from their homes.
We had a decent stretch of 90º heat from the 5th to the 8th and then were cooled off nicely thanks to a cold front that dropped temperatures below average for a quick day. Officially through the 10th, Denver hadn’t picked up any precipitation for the month yet.
And then came the heatwave. Temperatures soared into the 90s on the 12th and didn’t drop below that mark for 6 days. We’ve had more intense streaks of 90-degrees heat in Denver but the impressive fact of this heatwave was that we hit 100-degrees multiple times. Denver hit 100-degrees three days in a row. Three straight days of 100-degree heat has only happened five other times since weather records began back in 1872. So this was impressive heat. The heat didn’t only impact us here in Denver. In fact, most of Colorado saw record temperatures during this heatwave. The NWS in Grand Junction issued an excessive heat warning. This was the first-ever excessive heat warning in Colorado’s history.
During that impressive stretch of heat, no rain fell. Denver went the first 19 days of June with no measurable precipitation and very hot temperatures. Denver was tip-toeing in drought territory that doesn’t come with good results. The city was on track to have one of the hottest and driest Junes on record. With how dry it was, it was only a matter of time before wildfires became an issue. Smoke began filling our skies from wildfires that ignited from the 19-23rd. Thankfully some beneficial weather moved into the state and moisture increased and temperatures dropped. A nice stretch of cooler and wetter weather made firefighting efforts easier and most wildfires were able to be contained more.
Speaking of wildfires, the 2020 wildfire season was horrific to endure and unfortunately, the wildfires are still haunting us. After a burn, the landscape becomes much different and when rain falls on a previously burned area, the water won’t soak into the ground. It will simply run on top of the seemingly water-resistant surface and continue downhill. Rain fell heavy in the Glenwood Canyon near the Grizzly Creek burn scar and a mudslide washed over I-70 shutting it down for hours on end. And this didn’t happen just once. I-70 was shut down multiple times for mudslide cleanup and as a precautionary measure as more rain was forecast.
The system that dropped heavy rain brought snow to many mountain peaks.
Loveland Ski Area touted that snowmaking begins in 94 days after a coating of snow covered the Continental Divide. This is just another example of Colorado’s wild weather abilities. The month ended with cooler and wetter weather.
JUNE CLIMATE SUMMARY
June ended with an average temperature of 71.6-degrees. This is 3.4-degrees above normal.
The highest temperature recorded during the month was 101-degrees on June 15.
Denver saw 0.84″ of rain which is 1.10″ below normal.
There were 8 tornado warnings issued in NE Colorado. With 8 tornadoes reported for the month.
There were 33 severe thunderstorm warnings issued in NE Colorado with 8 damaging wind reports and 37 large hail reports.
There were 4 reports of flash flooding in NE Colorado.