Monsoon moisture could be headed to Northwest Colorado
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — If a moisture-rich monsoon comes to the rescue of the unusually dry Yampa Valley in July, it wouldn’t be the first time.
Accuweather predicted this week that, particularly in the latter half of July, there is potential for above-average monsoon moisture over Western Colorado.
Steamboat Today reported July 31, 2013, that with the help of 1.21 inches of rain that fell on July 14, 2013, Steamboat Springs was starting to green up again after receiving just .01 inches of moisture in the entire month of June. It was the result of a classic monsoon pattern that rejuvenated rivers and streams here.
June 2018 produced just .44 inches of rain, and ranchers, floaters, water managers and gardeners are all hoping for a mid- to late-summer tropical weather pattern. The scarce rainfall for June compares to the “normal” 1.77 inches here. That’s just the right amount to get grass hay growing.
The wettest period of the month came between June 16 and 18 with precipitation amounts of .03 inches, .27 inches and .08 inches recorded by volunteer weather observer Kate Gmeiner with the Colorado Cooperative Rain Hail and Snow Network.
If you thought monsoon rains were an Asian phenomenon, be assured, that late in the summer, subtropical moisture is pulled northward from Mexico, first into the Four Corners region where Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico meet, then all the way into Northwest Colorado.
National Weather Service meteorologist Julie Malingowski said a true monsoon pattern develops in Western Colorado when a strong high pressure system dominating the desert southwest in June moves slightly to the east, allowing tropical moisture to stream northward.
But the storms that bring that moisture, which can restore the health of local streams and rivers, has a downside. It can also produce the lightning strikes that trigger wildfires.
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