Warming trend drives rivers to new heights | SteamboatToday.com

Warming trend drives rivers to new heights

With the exception of very cool nights, the first weekend in June will feel much like summer as high pressure builds over Western Colorado.

The National Weather Service is forecasting a high temperature on Sunday, June 4 of 82 degrees, and Intellicast foresees daily highs in the 70s continuing through June 9. However, overnight lows will be on the chilly side of 45 degrees.

Meteorologist Mike Weissbluth of the SnowAlarm blog predicted that lingering energy and moisture from a Pacific storm passing over the area the night of June 1 would "fuel the chances" of afternoon thunderstorms on Friday, June 2.

Warm daily temperatures are also spurring the Yampa River in Steamboat to new heights. The Colorado Basin River Forecast Center had listed the Yampa in mid-May as being among the rivers in the region that had already peaked for the season. Data gathered by the U.S. Geological Survey showed the river reaching its high flows for May at 2,030 cubic feet per second on May 14.

But the latest forecast is the river will continue to rise over the weekend, climbing as high as 2,500 cfs June 5 and 6.

Ben Moyer, meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, issued a statement Thursday indicating a ridge of high pressure building over the Four Corners would dictate the weather for most of the week of  June 4 to 10.

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"High pressure aloft will build over the Four Corners Saturday and remain largely in control through much of next week," Moyer predicted. "Temperatures will respond (on) Saturday and sustain themselves 5 to 10 degrees warmer than normal through the middle of next week."

However, an upper level trough moving east across the northern Rockies on Monday could drag some moisture into the region, he added.

The mild, dry trend represents a reversal from the month of May. Steamboat weather watcher Kate Gmeiner reports 3.57 inches of precipitation fell in May at her rain gauge between downtown and the ski mountain. The Weather Service reports that "normal" May precipitation here is 2.02 inches.

The average daily high for the month of May in Steamboat is 63.5 degrees and May 2017 was just below that at 62 degrees. The warmest day of the month was the 78 degrees recorded on May 7. There were 16 nights in May when the overnight low was 32 degrees or colder.

Of the 3.57 inches of moisture, 1.48 inches arrived in the form of snow – 14.9 inches of it, according to Gmeiner. There were 14 days when there was at least a trace of precipitation. The most significant rain event was the .79 inches recorded the morning of May 19.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's outlook for the month of June in northern Colorado rates the chance for below average temperatures  at 40 to 50 percent. But the outlook for July and August includes normal temperatures.

When it comes to precipitation, the outlook for June, July and August calls for a 40 percent chance of above average moisture across the state with the probability higher in Northeastern Colorado than in the northwest.

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