Rain will stick around in Summit this week, but the long-term forecast calls for a hot summer
After a few weeks of unseasonably warm weather and rising fire danger, rain offered some relief to Summit County and surrounding areas over the weekend. The wet, cool weather pattern is expected to continue this week, but National Weather Service meteorologist Bernie Meier said heightened fire danger could return after this rain spell, and it would take months to dig the West out of a drought.
From Thursday through Sunday, the Dillon weather station recorded about an inch of precipitation. For the week ahead, Meier said there will be a chance of showers and thunderstorms most days. While there could be precipitation Tuesday, June 29, he said chances increase Wednesday, June 30, through Friday, July 2.
Meier said the storms could be more significant than what was seen over the weekend.
“Some of these storms could produce heavy rainfall — especially come Wednesday, Thursday, Friday — and so you can rule out the quick inch with some of these thunderstorms if you get a strong one moving over you,” Meier said.
Temperatures are expected to be cooler to start off the week but will warm up toward the end of the week, Meier said. The National Weather Service’s Frisco forecast shows temperatures in the high 60s Monday through Wednesday, heating up into the low to mid-70s Thursday, July 1, through the weekend. According to the National Weather Service almanac, normal June temperatures in Summit County are in the high 60s.
Long term, Meier said the July outlook shows a good chance of temperatures that are above normal, but when it comes to precipitation, he said the forecast is still up in the air — not leaning strongly toward a wetter, drier or average July.
While the rain has put a pause on Summit County’s dry start to summer, Meier said it won’t change anything long term, especially when it comes to drought conditions.
“It takes months to get into a drought,” Meier said. “It’s going to take probably weeks to months to get out of a drought.”
As of June 22, Summit County’s drought intensity ranged from no drought to extreme drought, on the U.S. Drought Monitor’s scale. The majority of Summit County’s northern portion is in a severe drought, with some small areas in the extreme zone. The southern portion of the county is split between moderate drought, abnormally dry conditions and no drought.
Current drought conditions in the county are an improvement from the beginning of the month, when there wasn’t an area of the county where drought was not present.
Summit County’s fire danger is currently rated as moderate, and Stage 2 fire restrictions are in place. Recent precipitation and cooler temperatures have brought some relief to Colorado’s firefighters.
“There’s been some short-term relief with this recent rainfall, cooler temperatures and higher humidities, and that temporary relief should continue this week,” Meier said. “But with long-term drought conditions, in seven to 10 days, if we get really hot, dry, windy conditions, high fire danger will return.”
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