Meteorologists expect early monsoon conditions to hit Summit County this week
Precipitation for Summit County and much of Colorado is expected to be above average for the next 14 days, likely the result of monsoonal conditions coming in from the southwest.
The Climate Prediction Center with the National Weather Service is predicting that over the next week or two, rainfall across the mountain west and into the midwest will be above average for the time of year. Over the same period of time, temperatures are likely to remain the same, and parts of the southwest part of Colorado will see lower temperatures while the eastern plains will see hotter weather.
Every few hours, the National Weather Service in Boulder updates its area forecast discussion. On Wednesday afternoon, meteorologists wrote that the plume of monsoonal moisture is expected to shift eastward over the course of the weekend. Specifically in Summit County, forecasts are showing a 20% chance of showers on Thursday night with chances rising to 60% on Friday.
“Thursday night, upper level high pressure will cover the central U.S. with an upper trough of low pressure over the western states,” the update reads. “Colorado will be in between these two systems under the influence of a southwesterly flow aloft. This pattern will allow some monsoonal moisture to continue to flow into the western half of Colorado with isolated to scattered showers and storms mainly in the high country.”
Earlier this year, meteorologists were still trying to predict what parts of Colorado would see effects of monsoonal conditions, or airflow coming up out of the south bringing moisture with it. La Nina, the changes in Pacific Ocean temperatures that affect weather patterns across the world, will end, and because of that, monsoon conditions would continue as normal without La Nina or El Nino effects. Normally, monsoon conditions would be set to create above-normal precipitation conditions in areas south and west of the Four Corners area.
“Early next week, upper level high pressure rebuilds over the Rocky Mountain Region with some monsoonal moisture trapped under the ridge,” the update continues. “This pattern will result in a warming trend with isolated to scattered afternoon and evening showers and storms each day, mainly in the mountains.”
James Heath, division engineer for Division 5 of the Colorado Division of Water Resources, which includes Summit County, said recent moisture can be attributed to an early monsoon season, rather than the moisture often seen toward the end of the warmer months.
“Usually, the monsoons pick up more in July and August around here, typically,” Heath said. “It does look like we will have monsoons through August. That’s what (the National Weather Service is) forecasting, and then not necessarily as strong of a signal for above average precipitation in September, October, November, though. We might have a nice reprieve here at the beginning of summer.”
Earlier this week, Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons said that recent moisture has helped keep Summit County from going into wildfire restrictions, and conditions for this weekend will likely do the same for next week. Energy release components, dead fuels that could be burned in a wildfire, are still just below the 90th percentile, he reported Tuesday.
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