Monsoon season drenches county while quelling fire danger
summit daily news
SUMMIT COUNTY – Monsoon season has hit the High Country, and stormy clouds are expected to drop rain through the weekend.
The county was under a flash-flood watch most of Friday, and similar conditions are expected to be “pretty much more of the same,” over the next few days, said Scott Entrekin, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
“The potential’s there,” he said. “Usually afternoon and evening thunderstorms are the main threat for heavy rain.”
The monsoon pattern in the High Country tends to last from about mid-July to mid-August. Temperatures through Monday are expected to stay fairly warm, hitting the mid 70s during the day and falling to the high 40s at night.
Chance of rain today through Monday ranges from 40 percent to 60 percent for most of the county.
Rick Bly, NWS observer in Breckenridge, said July brought above-average precipitation to the area, with 2.54 inches having fallen by early Friday afternoon. The average is 2.32 inches.
In the past year, there were only three months of above-average precipitation. April was 14 percent above normal and October 2009 was also above normal.
“We’ve had a concerning lack of moisture,” Bly said. “So it’s good that we’re getting caught up a little bit here.”
The fire danger on Friday had fallen to “low,” said Steve Lipsher with Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue.
Bly said that on July 29, Breckenridge received 1.13 inches of rain – a rare occurrence.
“I’ve been keeping records for about 35 years, and I think over an inch in precipitation (has fallen) in less than 24 hours less than a dozen times in all those years,” he said.
The county’s geography makes it susceptible to flooding, and NWS advises people to take caution. Rock and mud slides are possible in some areas during flood conditions.
Entrekin said people planning on hiking this weekend should be especially careful, as lightning is possible before noon.
“It’s not the best time for getting completely clear skies,” he said.
SDN reporter Robert Allen can be contacted at (970) 668-4628 or email@example.com.
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