Steamboat expected to see more rain into next week; July’s moisture considered above-average |

Steamboat expected to see more rain into next week; July’s moisture considered above-average

Storm clouds build above the horizon in Steamboat Springs. (File photo.)

Steamboat Springs is expected to finish off July with slightly more precipitation than in previous years.

Mike Weissbluth, local meteorologist and author of weather blog, said he is predicting more rain through Saturday evening, with a drier start to Sunday but a chance of thunderstorms Sunday afternoon.

Weissbluth said he expected to see heavy rain and storms Monday similar to Saturday, with another chance of rain Tuesday, though Weissbluth said it may be too soon to predict more specific estimates.

July’s moisture comes as northwest Colorado reaches a monsoonal period.

“There’s really not much dry air around,” Weissbluth said. “I would expect more (Saturday), and Monday is going to be another good one.”

The month of July is expected to have brought at least an inch of rain to much of the Yampa Valley, with slightly more in other areas, Weissbluth said, though he has not made an official count yet.

While that number is higher than the expected average of 0.86 inches, it still is not enough to bring the area out of the most severe form of drought, caused by abnormally low snow levels throughout the winter and several heat waves across the West throughout the summer.

“Any rain we do get will help, but we were in such a dry period and a pretty substantial drought for a long time,” said Erin Walter, meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, which forecasts for much of the Western Slope. “Still, I think there’s some pretty good moisture, and the rain actually reaching the ground is a better bet than what we were seeing earlier this summer.”

Walter said western Colorado is squeezed in a ridge of high pressure and tropical moisture coming up through Arizona. The pressure coming up through the Southwest is getting wrapped up in pressure throughout the Rocky Mountains, which is what’s causing moisture throughout the region, Walter said.

The area has seen several afternoon thunderstorms throughout the past few weeks, which Walter said she expects to see into the beginning of next week, though they may taper off later into the week.

Unlike many previous storms over the past several weeks, which have brought in lightning with little to no rain and caused wildfires in the area, Walter said Steamboat and surrounding areas should expect to see heavy rainfall, which can help contain fires.

“This is always a struggle with those ongoing fires, but any moisture we get does help,” Walter said.

Though Weissbluth does not have a rain or weather tracker in South Routt County, he has heard anecdotal evidence that the area received more rain than other parts of Routt County.

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