August rainfall recorded above average in Breckenridge |

August rainfall recorded above average in Breckenridge

summit daily news

BRECKENRIDGE – Local rainfall in August was about 35 percent above average, bringing the weather year’s precipitation to date within a hundredth of average, said Rick Bly, National Weather Service observer in downtown Breckenridge.

“We got the majority in the first 10 days of August,” he said.

The Labor Day weekend forecast is sunny skies and warm temperatures.

But it won’t be long before the snow starts to fall. Bly said September averages about 4 inches of snow.

The High Country’s monsoon season runs about July 15 to Aug. 15. Its above-average precipitation helped to make up for a dismal winter and bring the year-to-date amount to 18.86 inches – relative to the average of 18.87 inches.

The weather year runs from October to September. Other above-average months this year were October 2009 and April 2010.

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Some of the lowest snowfall numbers in the past 40 years were recorded between November and January, Bly said earlier this year. His records go back roughly 117 years.

Bly said September is typically the third-driest month of the year but with “one of the largest variations.”

Records on the month range from no snow in 1892 to 53 inches in 1961.

The holiday weekend across Summit County is predicted to be sunny, with highs in the low 70s through Monday and lows reaching about freezing.

The fire danger is “high” but with no fire restrictions in place, said Steve Lipsher with Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue.

Winds are expected, and a lack of recent rain increases the likelihood of wildfire.

“It’s not unusual. We’re not panicking,” Lipsher said. “But use your head, people.”

He said regular rainfall helped keep the danger moderate the past several weeks, but the region is “entering dry season.”

Campfires should never be left unattended and should be extinguished by drowning them in water and stirring the coals until all the coals are cool to the touch, he said.

Early November-to-April forecasts from the NWS Climate Prediction Center call for above-average temperatures with average precipitation

Bly said it’s difficult to rely on such predictions, however, because the NWS has moved its data retrieval sites over the years.

“My best indicator is October,” he said. “The 10 driest winter snowfalls we’ve had have been preceded by below-average October precipitation seven of 10 times.”

He said September is a “throwaway month” in terms of predicting winter snowfall patterns, and higher October snowfall (Breckenridge received more than 22 inches in October 2009) doesn’t indicate one way or the other.

The Farmer’s Almanac’s winter predictions are similar to NWS, indicating “mild” temperatures with average precipitation.

SDN reporter Robert Allen may be contacted at (970) 668-4628 or