No snow, no rain. The beautiful Colorado landscape, mountainous and rocky with a few scattered plains, had turned into a desert by the time spring ended.
Instead of refreshing rains, heat waves arrived. Before firefighters knew it, they were battling the state's most destructive wildfires in history. Now, record-breaking wildfires and temperatures have many wondering if climate change is the culprit.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the past 11 years have all ranked as one of the 12 warmest on record in terms of global average temperatures.
Not one year before 1987 has made the top-20 chart of warmest years globally.
In a July 3 press conference in Colorado Springs, Colo., Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano connected the intense weather and its effects to climate change.
"You have to look at climate change over a period of years, not just one summer," Napolitano said. "You could always have one abnormal summer. But when you see one after another after another then you can see, yeah, there's a pattern here."
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, right, held a news conference on July 3 after touring the destruction caused by the Waldo Canyon wildfire in Colorado Springs, Colo. Napolitano linked climate change as a possible cause of the record-breaking temperatures the country has seen in recent years. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)
Harris Sherman, the Natural Resources and Environment undersecretary for the United States Department of Agriculture, told The Washington Post that there have been record fires in 10 states over the last decade.
He said the dry conditions and stovetop temperatures are an indicator of climate change.
"The climate is changing, and these fires are a very strong indicator of that," Sherman told the Post.
Colorado Springs, scorched devastatingly by the Waldo Canyon Fire that burned more than 18,000 acres, endured temperatures hot enough to make the city's history books.
The last week of June, the city saw two days of 100-degree weather -- tying their all time record -- and broke the record last Thursday at 101.
The average temperature for that area this time of year is about 83 degrees.
Colorado Springs also received only 14 percent of the rainfall that it gathers on average in June.
For Lori Hodges, field manager for the Colorado Office of Emergency Management, the fires are behaving in ways she's never seen in her 15 years on the job.
"We had a really dry winter and no snow in March, which is usually the month of heaviest snow fall," Hodges said. "These conditions are record lows for moisture content. The fires are moving too fast for us to be able to control them."
Severe thunderstorms with the risk of a few tornadoes will advance eastward across the northern Plains and Upper Midwest into Friday.
A dangerous outbreak of severe storms will strike the northern High Plains and Canadian Prairies on Wednesday.
Join us on Thursday for AccuWeather LIVE as we will discuss the debate of climate change and hurricane frequency and the top five things you need to know about summer weather.
A hot and humid weekend is shaping up for Chicagoland just in time for the official start of summer, while severe thunderstorms fire nearby to the north.
A tornado touched down at Denver International Airport as a severe weather system moved through the area.
A brief synopsis of the top five worst weather events of last summer.
Southeast China (1932)
Hailstorm in Hunan Province killed 20 people and injured thousands of others.
Amwell, NJ (1742)
A fatal hailstorm and severe thunderstorm containing hail 4" in diameter killed one child and did considerable damage to crops.
Philadelphia, PA (1990)
Hail up to the size of marbles fell with wind gusts to 50 mph in the northeast part of the city.