Monsoon moisture could be headed to Northwest Colorado |

Monsoon moisture could be headed to Northwest Colorado

The fallout from a monsoon season that replenishes rivers and streams in Routt County is the potential for lightning strikes that trigger wildfires.
Kathleen Walsh/courtesy

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.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

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.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User


Spoke Talk: Beyond Bike Match

A few weeks ago, our Spoke Talk gave an overview of the Routt County Riders’ Bike Match program. For this Spoke Talk, let’s address moving toward a bicycle hub that gives everyone in Routt County…

See more