Summer to make an appearance in Summit County this week with temps in the 70s after record-setting snowfall
DILLON — If you’ve lived in the Colorado Rockies long enough, you’ve probably seen snowflakes fluttering in the sky in every month of the year. June snow isn’t unheard of, but summertime accumulation is another thing.
“Having this much accumulation this late in the season isn’t normal,” National Weather Service meteorologist Erin Walter said. “It’s uncommon, but it does happen.”
The summer solstice started off mild in Dillon, where the high reached 66 on Friday before temperatures started to cool that evening and a storm system brought rain, hail and snow overnight.
Summit County residents woke to snow accumulating on the grass Saturday, when 1 inch was recorded in Dillon. Record snowfall for June 22 is 4 inches, which fell in 1947.
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The 1 inch of snow that fell Sunday in Dillon set a record for the date. Low temperatures in the first three days of summer were about 10 degrees warmer than record lows for the dates, which fell in the low 20s.
While a few more flurries are possible above 11,000 feet, temperatures are forecast to reach into the 70s this week.
“We can expect a 10 degree increase (Monday), and then a couple degrees each day,” Walter said. “So we’re climbing back toward those normal temperatures and back toward summer conditions this week.”
Friday, June 21
• Low temperature: 33 (Record: 22 in 1924)
• Snowfall: 0 inches (Record: trace in 1957)
Saturday, June 22
• Low temperature: 32 (Record 23 in 1929)
• Snowfall: 1 inch (Record: 4 inches in 1947)
Sunday, June 23
• Low temperature: 29 (Record: 20 in 1916)
• Snowfall: 1 inch (Record: 1 inch in 2019)
• Lowest temperature: 23 on June 10 (Normal: 32.7)
• Highest temperature: 70 on June 14 (Normal: 66.9)
Source: National Weather Service Dillon weather stations
During the warmup, afternoon winds could spike to 20 to 25 mph. With no major precipitation in the forecast, those windy days potentially could cause elevated fire weather mid to late this week, according to Walter.
Fire danger currently is low.
“June is typically one of the dryer months in western Colorado, then we start to see an uptick in moisture in July when we start to get the remnants of the monsoon,” Walter said.
Despite unseasonably cool temperatures, wet weather sent area streams to their likely peaks for the year.
Tenmile Creek’s year-to-date peak was 4.26 feet, or 969 cubic feet per second, at 9:15 p.m. Wednesday, June 19, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The stream is expected to rise slightly to 4.33 feet later this week, according to a National Weather Service forecast. Minor flood stage for the creek is 5 feet, and the water has never gone above 5.14 feet, a high-water mark set June 17, 1995.
Straight Creek, which flows into the Blue River just below the dam, reached its likely peak of 5.24 feet, or 129 cfs, at 3:15 p.m. on Thursday, June 20.
Area streams “are going to receded a little bit and maybe come back up as we see warmer temperatures,” National Weather Service senior hydrologist Treste Huse said.
She called for “continued high flows for the next week — at least — because of the continued snowmelt.”
The Blue River is flowing at a steady 2.85 feet, or 1,000 cfs, which is controlled by the outflows of Dillon Reservoir. The reservoir is 92% full, with room for an additional 20,534 acre feet of water. An acre foot is enough to cover a football field about one foot deep.
Huse expects the Blue River will go higher as Denver Water works to regulate the water levels in the reservoir.
In terms of flooding risk, gradual warming this spring prevented area streams from overrunning their floodplains despite record snowpack.
“In Summit County, all of our rivers are flowing well below what we would consider flood stage,” Summit County emergency management director Brian Bovaird said. “Because the runoff has been so gradual, we are not anticipating any major problems at this point.”
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