Scattered showers expected to minimize fire weather in Routt County
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – Routt County can expect some respite from dry weather this week.
Increased cloud coverage and scattered afternoon showers are expected to minimize fire weather in Routt County through Thursday, said Jimmy Fowler, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Grand Junction. The storms still bring the threat of lightning strikes, which could ignite fires, he added.
The conditions could benefit firefighters who continue to battle numerous wildfires in Northwest Colorado.
On Friday, the Chedsey Fire in Routt National Forest in Jackson County was reported 75-percent contained at 45 acres.
Firefighters held two fires burning in Moffat County at bay Saturday. The Divide Fire northwest of Craig was reported Sunday to have burned about 20,000 acres and 40-percent containment. West of Craig, the Thornburg Fire burned about 1,600 acres and is 50-percent contained. The fire threatened about 30 structures in the community of Sunbeam.
Stage 1 fire restrictions are still in effect in Routt County and the city of Steamboat Springs.
Warm and dry weather in recent weeks has the Yampa River approaching conditions that would close tubing season.
On Sunday afternoon, the Yampa River was flowing around 95 cubic feet per second at the Fifth Street Bridge in downtown Steamboat. The water temperature reached 70 to 73 degrees Sunday afternoon. Tubing season typically ends when flows dip below 85 cfs and water temperatures reach into the 70s, a concern for the waterway’s ecology.
Scattered afternoon showers and thunderstorms moved into the area Sunday and are expected to continue through Thursday. Fowler said the storms will be isolated. Similar storms usually produce about a tenth of an inch of rainfall, but areas could receive up to a half an inch of rain.
Daytime temperatures are forecast to be in the high 80s and low 90s early in the week and cool off slightly into the low 80s later in the week.
“The dominant ridge of high pressure over most of the country will keep the hot temperatures around in Steamboat Springs through Monday and part of Tuesday before a good chance of wetting rains and cooler temperatures arrives midweek,” according to Steamboat meteorologist Mike Weissbluth, who runs snowalarm.com.
Winds are predicted to be fairly light at about 5 to 10 miles per hour, though the storms could produce erratic gusts, Fowler said.
There is still a good chance that smoke from eastern Utah continues to drift into Routt County this week, he said.
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