Summit County weather: ‘It may be the last hurrah of great summer weekends’
September 20, 2013
Many Summit County residents awoke Thursday morning to find a fresh dusting of snow on area mountaintops.
The sight might have quickened snow-lovers' hearts, but meteorologists say not to expect the winter season to swoop in just yet. In fact, the next few days are predicted to bring in summer-like weather conditions, said National Weather Service Meteorologist Todd Dankers.
"It may be the last hurrah of great summer weekends," he said.
The warm, mostly dry conditions are likely to be a welcome change for many Summit residents. Late-summer weather conditions have been wetter than normal in the High Country.
The town of Dillon received 8.3 inches of rain from June 1 through Sept. 19. The average for the same period is 6.5 inches, said Wendy Ryan, assistant state climatologist with the Colorado Climate Center.
September has been an especially wet month. The Colorado Climate Center reported 2.63 inches of precipitation in Dillon so far this month — compared with just .78 inches last year.
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It's poured almost every day this month in Dillon, where the climate center has its rainfall gauge. There was no precipitation on Sept. 3 and only a trace on Sept. 17, according to Ryan. But rain was recorded every other day in September.
Another storm system is expected to arrive in the middle or later part of next week, said meteorologist Joel Gratz. The slow-moving storm could linger from Thursday into Saturday. Temperatures during to the storm may likely be cold enough to bring snow down to 10,000-11,000 feet, Gratz said.
While concentrated heavy rainfall contributed to record-setting flooding in multiple counties in the Front Range, widespread precipitation throughout the rest of the state had a positive impact on statewide drought conditions.
"As far as drought improvements go we've made a significant impact," Ryan said. "It was more of a moderate intensity for rainfall so it gave soil time to soak up the moisture."
Denver officials said the wet weather allowed them to store excess water.
"As a result of the rain, our overall reservoir storage went up four percentage points and is currently 95 percent full. Typically, this time of year our overall reservoir storage is 90 percent full," said Denver Water media coordinator Travis Thompson.
Currently, Dillon Reservoir is 96 percent full, which is about average for this time of year. At this time last year it was only 80 percent full, and in 2011 it was 98 percent full. Historically, this time of year, Dillon is 97 percent full.
"Between the flooding and our customers' reduced water use this summer, we are now heading into the fall and winter with higher reservoir levels than normal, putting us in a better position for filling our reservoirs next year," Thompson said.
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