August rainfall totals measure below average
SUMMIT COUNTY – Following a wetter-than-normal July, rainfall in August dropped off to below average again at Summit County’s two National Weather Service data collection sites in Breckenridge and Dillon.In Breckenridge, weather watcher Rick Bly recorded 1.78 inches of rain in August, 79 percent of the average 2.25 inches for the month. Bly said that, although he’s heard a lot of anecdotal comments about a “wet” August, the statistics show otherwise. Precipitation records for Breckenridge date back more than 100 years.If anything, it rained more frequently this summer – 46 days with measurable precipitation from the beginning of June to the end of August, as compared to the average of 34 days with measurable rain or snowfall during those three months combined. In 2004, Bly measured 1 inch more than average at his backyard gage for those three months combined, making it the third wettest summer during the last 10 years, and one of the top 25 in the last 100 years or so, Bly said.With one month to go in the hydrological year, total precipitation stands at 79 percent of average, marking a nearly consecutive string of months with below average moisture. During the past three years, only July and November of 2003 and July 2004 saw above average precipitation.During September, there is a 50 percent chance of measurable snow in Breckenridge, Bly said, with the average snowfall for the month registering 4 inches. On occasion, it can dump during this transitional season. More than 4 feet 53 inches of the white stuff fell during September 1961. But that doesn’t really set a trend for the winter, Bly pointed out, explaining that the rest of that winter ended up relatively dry. Average precipitation for September is 1.44 inches, making it the second-driest month of the year after October.Near Dillon Reservoir, Denver Water officials measured 1.51 inches of precipitation during August, almost three-tenths of an inch below the average 1.78 inches. Measurable rain fell on eight days, with traces of precipitation on three additional days. The bulk of the rain came on one day, Sept. 19, when .78 inches were measured. August 2003 was much wetter, with 3.25 inches of precipitation. The all-time record, at least since measurements began in 1909, came in 1946, with 4.43 inches.The high for August at the Dillon weather gage was 78 degrees, registered three times – on Aug. 2, Aug. 11 and Aug. 16. The mercury hit or passed the 70-degree mark every day from Aug. 1 through Aug. 17. The lowest daily high temperature was 56 degrees, measured Aug. 20 and 21.For the most part, it stayed a bit cooler than normal, with the average maximum temperature for August registering 70.3 degrees, as compared to the average 72.5. The average minimum temperature for the month was 34.4 degrees, slightly below the long-term average of 35.8 degrees.The thermometer dropped below freezing, to 30 degrees, for the first time on Aug. 12 and then all the way down to 24 degrees on Aug. 28, for the coldest reading of the month.July and August are the only snow-free months at the Dillon gage – and the only months when the average monthly low temperatures are above freezing. Records show that September often brings average snowfall for the month tallying 1.7 inches. And as the days get shorter, temperatures fall dramatically, with average lows for September dropping to 38.7 degrees.
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