I was surprised, many years ago, to learn that Colorado had a monsoon season. “Monsoon” always made me think of places like Thailand and Singapore with their afternoon deluges that brought traffic to a standstill, and Colorado seldom gets that sort of rain, which makes “monsoon” seem a strong word for the weak rains we sometimes get in July and August.
Although most people associate “monsoon” with deluges, a monsoon is actually a shift in the wind. In the case of Colorado, that wind shift brings moisture from the Gulf of California and the Gulf of Mexico into the state. According to the Colorado Climate Center, the monsoon “usually happens when a strategically centered high pressure (with clockwise flow around it) and low pressure (with counterclockwise flow around it) settle in over the region.”
The erratic and unpredictable nature of this North American monsoon is why the forecasters seem unable to tell us when or where or how much it’s going to rain. There have been days recently when they predicted 10% chance of rain, and we ended up with a steady downpour. Other days they have predicted a 90% chance of rain, and we ended up with nary a drop. And some days the forecast changed so frequently, no one and nothing had any idea what was going to happen, not even the weather itself.
This week, rain or no, we seem to be centered solidly in the monsoon wind pattern. The days are still and dry, but most evenings we have at least a splattering of rain. A couple of nights ago it rained for several hours, the longest rain we’ve had all year. It rained a bit last night, and after a respite of — perhaps — no precipitation tonight, there’s a chance of rain every evening for the rest of the week.
I have learned a couple of things during this monsoon week: 1) the browning of certain areas of my lawn isn’t due to lack of moisture, and 2) this is not a good time of year for hanging baskets. I’ve had to settle those hanging plants firmly on the ground so they don’t take flight in the late-night winds. By the time the winds are gone and I hang up my plants again, it will probably be too late in the season for flowers. Still, plants are nice, wherever they are.
Well, some plants. The rain sure is making the weeds spring up! And it’s making the already sprung-up weeds grow horrendously fast. I’ve cleared out the tallest weeds, though my garden patches have been neglected. Luckily, as you can see, I still managed to find a few flowers to photograph.
Incidentally, all the white flowers pictured are volunteers, planting themselves where they’ve been assured a warm (and wet) welcome.
Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.