August nears record highs during trio of 90+ degree days
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Rainfall across Steamboat Springs varied widely in August, with the official measuring station near Steamboat Springs High School receiving 2.3 inches and a measuring location between downtown and the mountain collecting 1.5 inches, just shy of the 1.6-inch average for the month.
“This time of year, those precipitation events tend to be more random in nature,” said Jim Pringle, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction. “In many cases, however, the mountains tend to get more (rain) normally than valley areas that are adjacent … so you can have big differences from one place to another that are relatively close to each other.”
High daytime temperatures sometimes also caused the rain to evaporate before it reached the ground, leading to lower rainfall measurements at lower elevations.
High: 92 degrees (record: 98 in 2001)
Low: 38 degrees (record: 20 in 1910)
Precipitation: 2.3 inches (record: 5.05 in 2014)
90+ degree days
Aug. 11: 90 (record: 92 in 2003)
Aug. 12: 91 (record: 98 in 2001)
Aug. 13: 92 (record: 94 in 2001)
Dig into the data: NOAA weather almanac
“Sometimes that rain would evaporate before it got very far below the clouds,” Pringle said.
The hottest day of the month was 92 degrees on Aug. 13, which ended a three-day period of temperatures in the 90s. The 92-degree day was just shy of the 94-degree record for the date, set in 2001. The record high temperature for August is 98 degrees, reached on four days of the month in 2001. The all-time record high in Steamboat is 100 degrees, which was reached June 29, 1990.
Overnight lows dipped into the 30s two days in August, with the Aug. 20 low reaching 38 degrees. The record low temperature for August is 20 degrees set on two days in 1910.
The average high temperature in August of 82 degrees was slightly above the all-time average of 80 degrees. Near the end of the month, highs dipped into the 70s, signaling the end of summer is near.
With 78 days until the start of ski season here in Steamboat, the Weather Service is predicting an El Nino winter, with a 60 percent chance of El Nino in September and November before increasing to a 70 percent chance from December to February.
In Northwest Colorado, El Nino typically means above-average temperatures and equal chances of above- and below-average precipitation.
“Sometimes, what is forecast, especially in Colorado, may not work out exactly as expected,” Pringle said. “Part of that has to do with the fact that the jet stream tends to indicate how the storms track. … If that shifts a little bit northward or southward, that would make all the difference in the world.
“If you have a normal winter up in Steamboat Springs, you’re doing pretty good,” he said.
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