High temperatures break weather records in Dillon
If you thought it was unseasonably warm the past few days, the records agree.
The Dillon weather station saw record high temperatures for three days in a row, and while things are expected to cool off a bit for the rest of the week, National Weather Service meteorologist David Barjenbruch said temps will remain above normal for this time of year.
2021 is the new record-holder for the maximum high temperature on April 4 at 61 degrees, April 5 at 62 degrees and April 6 at 62 degrees. The Dillon weather station reports temperature data each morning for the past 24 hours, so the temperature for April 6 refers to data collected from the morning of April 5 through the morning of April 6.
The previous records for those dates were longtime contenders. Prior to this year, the high temperature record for April 4 was 60 degrees set in 1954 and 1943, and the record for April 6 was previously 61 degrees set in 1959. This year’s April 5 high temperature tied the record set in 1959.
Temperatures started to cool off Tuesday, but forecast evening snow showers aren’t expected to bring much accumulation, Barjenbruch said — potentially 1 to 4 inches on the higher peaks.
“Looking ahead, it looks like generally above normal temperatures will continue,” Barjenbruch said. “Thursday looks pretty warm but not quite record warm. And then we’ll kind of settle back into more seasonal normals as we head into the weekend and early next week.”
The National Weather Service put out a hazardous weather outlook for Summit County and other nearby areas that warns of elevated fire danger during the afternoon Thursday due to low humidity and gusty winds.
There could be chances of precipitation next week, Barjenbruch said, but nothing significant is expected in the next 10 days. Barjenbruch added that the area seems to have hit its peak snowpack amount for the year. He said peak snowpack typically occurs in mid-April in Summit County, but this year, it seems to have peaked at the end of March.
The snowpack of the South Platte river basin, which sits directly east of Summit County, is starting to melt out, Barjenbruch said. Since the snowpack has hit its peak, he said it will be difficult to get back to normal. The normal peak snowpack for the basin is about 15 inches of snow-water equivalent — the amount of water held in the snowpack — but this year, Barjenbruch said it peaked at about 13.5 inches, which is 10% below normal.
“It was really dry last fall and last summer, so unfortunately the runoff will be decreased because of that, as well. We’ll lose more to saturating the soil … so the runoff forecasts are expected to be a fair amount below normal this year,” Barjenbruch said. “We had a great March. Without that, we would be in really deep trouble in regards to getting enough moisture in the soil and in the runoff.”
According to the latest numbers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s measurement sites, the snow-water equivalent is 82% of the 30-year median at Copper Mountain and 89% at Hoosier Pass. The Copper Mountain site appears to have peaked on April 2 at 12.4 inches, and the Hoosier Pass snowpack is likely to have peaked on April 3 at 13.6 inches. Both Copper Mountain and Hoosier Pass sites’ average peak is on April 26 at 17.3 inches.
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