Thunderstorms to start week, then Yampa Valley heats up

Partly cloudy skies are above Steamboat Springs on Sunday, June 5, as the week is expected to start with thunderstorms before things start to heat up.
Dylan Anderson/Steamboat Pilot & Today

After thunderstorms roll through the Yampa Valley to start the week, temperatures in Steamboat Springs are expected to exceed 80 degrees, about 10 degrees above average for early June.

Mark Miller, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, said Monday, June 6, and Tuesday, June 7, will have an active weather pattern, especially in the afternoons and evenings.

“Disturbances will be rolling through each day,” Miller said. “Tuesday starts to quiet down and things start to shift more toward the Front Range and into the Eastern Plains.”

These storms likely won’t produce much rain, Miller said. Instead, he suspected the storms would produce virga, which is rain that evaporates before it reaches the ground.

“It descends from the actual cloud base and then it kind of disappears to nothing,” Miller said, describing virga. “That’s essentially precipitation that is falling out of the cloud, but it reaches a layer where it is so dry that it actually evaporates and doesn’t reach the ground.”

Local meteorologist Mike Weissbluth, who runs the forecasting website, said these storms stem from a system in the Gulf of Alaska. While the jet stream has shifted north as the weather warms, he said it would still be close enough to cause some windy days to start the week.

After the storms blow through, Weissbluth said it will start to heat up with a high temperature exceeding 80 degrees possible on Thursday, June 9. One weather model Weissbluth looks at is predicting a high of 78 degrees, but the range of predictions shows a potential high of 86 degrees, which would tie the record for high temperature on June 9 in Steamboat.

“That may be an outlier, but I think we can expect probably over 80 degrees on Thursday and we’re going to be close on Wednesday,” Weissbluth said.

While mostly-dry thunderstorms and warm weather generally lead to increased fire danger, both Miller and Weissbluth said they didn’t expect that this week. Relative humidity will likely stay above the 15% mark and it doesn’t look like it will be windy enough to trigger a red flag warning.

“Maybe toward the end of the week as those temperatures rise and things start to dry out, but for the most part it’s not looking like it will be doing anything too concerning right now,” Miller said.

The warmer weather looks to be sticking around for good, and Weissbluth said he is starting to see early signs of a monsoonal pattern starting to develop.

“I actually saw some return moisture from the south for the end of the period, which is always indicative of the monsoon starting to get going,” Weissbluth said. “It feels like summer has started.”

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