High temps expected to cool next week, but heat still predicted for Steamboat’s busy weekend | SteamboatToday.com

High temps expected to cool next week, but heat still predicted for Steamboat’s busy weekend

Due to rising temperatures, the Yampa River is very shallow below Oakton Ditch. (Photo by Scott Hummer.)

Steamboat Springs has already broken multiple heat records this year, but another might have been broken Friday with a record high of 94 degrees recorded at Steamboat Springs Airport.

“It’s going to be very close,” said Mike Weissbluth, Steamboat-based meteorologist and operator of snowalarm.com.

Routt County should expect high temperatures to continue over the weekend and at into next week, Weissbluth said, with temperatures increasing about 3 degrees each day from Sunday to Tuesday.

A storm churning in the Gulf of Alaska, however, will eject several waves early and late in the week, which will likely bring moisture and cooler temperatures to Routt County, Weissbluth said. That moisture may include rain Wednesday through Friday, but Weissbluth said it is too soon to offer a confident prediction.

Dennis Phillips, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, said while moisture is helpful, wildfires remain a concern.

“In the summertime, things are so unstable you just need a tiny little change to get different weather,” Phillips said. “Even with moisture, the fuels out there are still dry. It’s going to take quite a wet period to get out of this drought and it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.”

High temperatures coupled with abnormally low snowfall from the winter season forced the city of Steamboat to issue a commercial and voluntary closure for the Yampa River earlier this week. Craig Robinson, Steamboat parks, open space and trails manager, said the closure was necessary to preserve the health of fish in the river.

“The fish are seeking refuge and they’re having a hard time breathing,” Robinson said. “By swimming and fishing in those pools, you’re adding additional stressors to the fish and that’s what we’re trying to avoid.”

As for whether or not people should expect to see record-breaking heat every summer going forward, Phillips said the equation is a bit more complicated than just warmer seasons and more extreme droughts every year.

“If you look at climate as a whole, it’s made up of a whole bunch of weather events,” Phillips said. “Things are generally getting warmer, but as far as record-breaking heat every year, it might be too early to speculate on that.”

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