Mild weather, side of storms up for holiday weekend in Summit
July 4, 2013
The clear skies and mild temperatures Summit County is known for this time of year are on track to continue through the holiday weekend, with a smattering of afternoon thunderstorms also in the forecast.
Weather patterns are following normal summer trends for Colorado, with roughly a 40 percent chance of late-afternoon showers every day through Monday, according to National Weather Service forecasts Thursday.
The storms are expected to bring more of the still-needed moisture that has kept Summit County’s fire danger ratings on the safer side of the scale, but weather watchers say they’ll be short lived and likely won’t interfere greatly with outdoor plans in the afternoons and evenings through the weekend.
“We’re transitioning to that time of year where the moisture is getting stuck under a high pressure ridge over the western United States,” NWS meteorolgoist David Barjenbruch said. “They’re 20- (to) 30-minute storms; that’s what most of them take on the characteristic of once they move in. Hopefully there should be sufficient breaks in between to get activities done up there.”
The stronger showers could bring up to half an inch of water to the High Country.
The monsoon rains, heavy moisture flows that typically move over the western United States during the mid-summer months, may not have started in earnest yet, but the coming month is likely to hold more of the same for Summit County. Long-term models show chances for above-normal precipitation and near-normal temperatures.
The continued moisture has helped hold off fire restrictions and bans in local municipalities and the surrounding forest.
U.S. Forest Service officials said this week local conditions did not meet the criteria necessary for a Stage 1 fire ban on public lands.
“It is important to stress that we are keeping close track of our fuels conditions and evaluating the need for restrictions on a weekly basis,” said Ross Wilmore, the east zone fire management officer for the interagency fire management unit on the Upper Colorado River in a recent news release.
Stage 1 fire restrictions prohibit campfires on federal forest land outside of developed camps or picnic grounds, and smoking unless in an enclosed vehicle, building or on a developed recreation site.
The fire danger rating in Summit County is currently moderate and, at press time, there were no red-flag warnings issued in the area for the coming weekend.
Temperatures are expected to remain in the high 60s through Sunday.
Up-to-date weather information and forecasts are available on the NWS website at weather.gov.