What’s up with the weather? A summer of extremes in the Intermountain West
Summer 2021 was a year of extreme weather events in the Intermountain West. Drought conditions that were building since 2019 covered vast areas of the region with extreme and exceptional drought. A very strong North American Monsoon, especially in Utah and western Colorado broke rainfall records and caused flash flooding. Heavy monsoonal rainfall on the burn scars from the 2020 Cameron Peak and Grizzly Gulch Fires in Colorado caused the tragic loss of life and destruction of parts of Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon. Massive wildfires burning in California and Oregon significantly impacted regional air quality for much of the summer. Extreme weather events during 2021 exemplified the concept of compound natural hazards, where one natural hazard event causes a cascading series of natural hazards.