Summit County July rainfall above average after Friday storm

A mudslide covers the Tenmile Recpath at mile marker 198 on Friday, July 23. The incident followed heavy rain in the area.
Photo from Summit County government

This past weekend was messy. From flash flood watches to mudslides, Summit County got the moisture it has been waiting for.

U.S. Highway 6 over Loveland Pass closed for nearly 48 hours due to the heavy rains Summit County experienced Friday, July 23. Bob Wilson, spokesperson for the Colorado Department of Transportation, explained that there were two mudslides on the road — one occurred Friday afternoon, and another followed a few hours later.

Wilson said the department initially thought it would reopen the road the afternoon of Saturday, July 24, but continued water flow prolonged reopening until Sunday, July 25.

“There were a couple of little streams that were flowing into the area where the mudslide occurred, and so that was making the cleanup of the mud and debris a bit more challenging,” Wilson said.

In addition to Loveland Pass, the recpath in Tenmile Canyon at mile marker 198 was closed Friday afternoon due to a mudslide but reopened Saturday. And the Summit County Resource Allocation Park, known as SCRAP or the Dillon dump, was closed temporarily because of storm damage.

National Weather Service meteorologist Caitlyn Mensch said weekend rain totals ranged from around one-half inch near Silverthorne to over an inch in Breckenridge.

“This larger range is likely due to the more isolated, scattered nature of the storms that were happening over the weekend,” Mensch said.

According to records at the Dillon weather station, Mensch said July rainfall so far is slightly above normal, totaling 2.63 inches as of Monday, July 26. Typically, the station sees about 1.5 inches of rain in July. She noted that the past week has brought an especially wet pattern, with nearly an inch of rainfall recorded on Saturday alone.

Summit County is starting off the week dry, Mensch said, but moisture might return later in the week.

“Starting around midweek toward the end of the week, we’ll start seeing a little bit more increasing moisture that will then increase our chances for some showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon,” Mensch said. “But we can’t rule out any isolated thunderstorms and showers even on Tuesday, (July 27).”

A storm system might also come through the area this weekend, Mensch said.

The week will also start off with warm temperatures with a high of 80 to 82 degrees through Wednesday, July 28. High temperature predictions are in the high 70s from Thursday, July 29, through the weekend.

While July has brought plenty of precipitation, much of Summit County remains in a drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. A small section of the eastern part of the county is not experiencing drought conditions, but moving west through the county, conditions become increasingly dry. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor scale, drought severity starts at abnormally dry and moves into a severe drought in the northwestern part of the county.

“Those (drought) conditions are still there. It’s definitely still something to keep in mind even though it’s great that we’re getting rain,” Mensch said. “It’s definitely a good thing that we’re continuing to get that rain in July, hopefully in August. So it’s a good sign, but it looks like more northern portions … of Summit County, (drought) is still there.”

Map shows current drought conditions in Colorado.
Photo from U.S. Drought Monitor

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