Dillon sets weather records during first major storm. More precipitation is on the horizon

Tuesday's storm brought a dusting of snow to Summit County's towns and ski areas.
Photo from Copper Mountain Resort

DILLON — While the snow arrived later than expected Tuesday, Sept. 8, about 1-4 inches accumulated in Summit County, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Evan Direnzo. As predicted, the Dillon weather station saw record temperatures.

The high temperature for the day was 37 degrees — which was recorded in the 24-hour window from 6 a.m. Tuesday to 6 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 9, at the Dillon station — according to the National Weather Service almanac. That beat the previous lowest maximum temperature record of 42 degrees set in 2001. The snowfall also beat the day’s record with 3 inches recorded at the station. Previously, only a trace had fallen Sept. 8.

While Tuesday was chilly, it wasn’t the coldest day we’ve had in September. The lowest maximum temperature for any date in September is 30 degrees, which was recorded Sept. 30, 1959. The low Tuesday was 22 degrees, which is below the normal 32 degrees for the day but didn’t break the record of 14 degrees set in 1941.

Local ski areas also recorded several inches of snow well ahead of the 2020-21 ski season. Arapahoe Basin Ski Area received 4 inches. While Sara Lococo, spokesperson for Keystone Resort and Breckenridge Ski Resort, noted in an email that snow totals are unofficial, Breckenridge received about 6-7 inches of snow and Keystone saw about 3 inches. Keystone plans to open Nov. 6 while Breckenridge plans to open Nov. 13.

Breckenridge Ski Resort’s snow stake is pictured the morning of Wednesday, Sept. 9.
Photo from Breckenridge Ski Resort

At Loveland Ski Area, 3 inches of snow was recorded. Loveland is only 23 days away from snowmaking, according to an email from spokesperson Dustin Schaefer, and ski area officials hope to open as early as mid-October. Last year, the ski area opened Oct. 25. Copper Mountain, which is set to open Nov. 30, did not report a snow total.

A-Basin Chief Operating Officer Alan Henceroth wrote in his blog that the snow looks good for this time of year, though he doesn’t think the mountain is “skiable.” He pointed out that most of the snow will melt but that some might remain high on the East Wall or on Pallavicini.

Wednesday was another cold day with a forecast high of 44 degrees and a nighttime low of 27 degrees with a chance of rain and snow as the temperature drops. The lowest maximum temperature recorded for Sept. 9 was 56 degrees in 1947, giving Wednesday a shot at another record. 

More precipitation is on the way Thursday with a chance of snow and rain. Direnzo said there is a chance of rain most of the afternoon and evening with a slight chance of thunder from noon to 8 p.m. 

“On both edges of that, there’s chances of snow, so you actually might see some light snow mixed with rain with thunder in between,” Direnzo said. 

Direnzo said the area would be partly to mostly cloudy all day Thursday and that there is no precipitation in the forecast later in the week. Despite the recent precipitation, wildfire danger is still listed as “very high” in Summit County.

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