Summit County summer weather breaks rainfall, high temperature records

Snow hits the peaks in Breckenridge on the morning of Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022.
Del Nordstrom/Courtesy photo

As summer comes to a close, Summit County broke several 20-year records for high temperatures and heavy rainfall. 

In Dillon, National Weather Service data shows that maximum temperatures topped out at 82 degrees, hotter than any September since 2000. That is also hotter than maximum temperatures recorded in August and June. July registered a high of 83 degrees to barely surpass September’s highest recorded temperature so far.

Monsoonal moisture kept summer temperatures on par with the 20-year average and kept wildfire restrictions from affecting Summit County.

Though the National Weather Service does not keep historical data on high temperatures in Breckenridge, precipitation data for the town shows that 2022 marked another historic year in Summit County when it comes to weather. In August, 6.24 inches of rain fell over Breckenridge, by far the highest amount of rain for that month in the past 22 years. The record was previously held by August 2000, when it rained 4.67 inches.

From Wednesday, Sept. 21 through Thursday night, meteorologists at the National Weather Service in Boulder forecasted heavy rains and potential thunderstorms bringing gusts as high as 24 miles per hour. 

On Thursday night, there is a chance of rain and snow showers between 7 p.m. and midnight, and then there will be a chance of snow showers after midnight mainly at the higher elevations. For areas above 9,000 feet in Summit and Grand counties, the National Weather Service issued a flood watch that expires Thursday afternoon.

“Excessive runoff may result in flooding of rivers, creeks, streams and other low-lying and flood-prone locations,” the watch reads. “Burn Scars will be susceptible to flash flooding, including Williams Fork and Weston Pass burn areas.”

Joel Gratz, founding meteorologist of OpenSnow, issued a forecast that says most of the moisture from the storm system will evaporate by the weekend. Gusty winds are “highly likely” for the Northern Rockies including Summit County, but moisture this week will likely continue to keep wildfire risk lower than it would if dry weather were persistent.

“Following this week’s storm, the upcoming weekend (Sept. 24-25) and the final week of September should be mostly dry and warmer than average,” Gratz said. “If the changing leaves survive this week’s rain, then there could be some beautiful viewing during the final seven days of September as the weather turns back to more typical calm autumn conditions.”

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