August brings moisture surplus
SUMMIT COUNTY – For only the second time in the past 11 months, weather observer Rick Bly measured an above-average monthly precipitation total for August, reporting 3.02 inches of water at his Breckenridge rain gage.”It wasn’t quite the deluge that some people seemed to be talking about,” Bly said. Average rainfall for the month is 2.25 inches, based on about 100 years worth of records, he added. For the water watchers, the hydrological year runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30. For the current year, precipitation is about 20 percent below average. June was the only other month that brought above-average moisture, Bly said.September is typically the second-driest month of the year after October, with 1.31 inches of water, so Bly reckons it’s unlikely we’ll catch up, although he said September 1961 brought an impressive 53 inches of snow.Bly also said the first below-freezing temperature of the late summer was July 29, when the thermometer dropped to 29 degrees.Rainfall was also above average across the county at Dillon Reservoir, where Denver Water’s observers recorded 2.06 inches of precipitation in August, compared to the average 1.78 inches. Records for the Dillon site go back to 1909. A significant portion of that rain came on Aug. 4, with .45 inches.Temperatures at the Dillon station equaled the all-time record high of 79 degrees twice, on Aug. 1 and again on Aug. 9. The average daily high temperature of 71.2 degrees was slightly below the historic average of 72.5 degrees. Low temperatures dropped right to the freezing mark for the first time Aug. 19, then dipped down to 31 degrees the next night, reaching a monthly low of 29 degrees Aug. 28 and again Aug. 31.Stream flows in Summit County are generally running below historic means, said Blue River Basin water commissioner Scott Hummer. One exception is Straight Creek, flowing at 8.9 cfs Thursday morning, slightly above the historic mean flow for the date of 8.83 cfs.”We’re pretty much the same place we’ve been all summer,” Hummer said. Large irrigation diversions in the Lower Blue valley, north of Silverthorne, have been off since about mid-July, Hummer said, adding that ranchers are reporting their best hay crop in several years, somewhat delayed by the wet conditions in early August.With downstream calls for water from Dillon Reservoir, the flow in the Blue River below the dam was about 110 cfs Thursday morning, slightly more than double the required minimum flow of 50 cfs.Denver Water was diverting about 202 cfs through the Roberts Tunnel, compared to the historic average for this date of 100 cfs, based on 41 years worth of records, Hummer said.Bob Berwyn can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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