Weatherman pitching a shutout against measurable June moisture in Steamboat
June 26, 2013
Steamboat Springs — If the weather forecast for the last few days of the month holds up and no more than a trace of rain is recorded by Sunday, it will mark just the third known time that no measurable precipitation has fallen in Steamboat Springs in any month of the year since 1893.
No measurable precipitation was recorded in Steamboat in June 1893, and the same was true in October 1933, according to records kept by the Western Regional Climate Center in Reno, Nev. While not typically among Steamboat's driest months, October also was the month in 1958 and again in 1965 when some of the lowest measurable monthly precipitation was recorded at 0.07 inches.
Unofficial Weather Service observer Art Judson said he recorded a trace of moisture at his weather station between downtown and the ski mountain on two occasions this month. However, a month without any measurable precipitation is new to him.
"I haven't put up zeros in 20 years," Judson said.
It's not possible to say with certainty that there haven't been other months in other years when no measurable precipitation here was recorded. That's because there are years with incomplete weather records, including all of the years from 1899 through 1907. And there have also been years like 1930 when no records were kept January through August.
The National Weather Service is forecasting Wednesday afternoon that sunny skies and afternoon high temperatures in the low 90s would dominate Steamboat's weather through the end of the month.
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"It looks like you're about to tie a record," Weather Service Meteorologist Jim Pringle said.
Another official measuring site 4 miles southwest of Craig at the power plant also reflects no measurable precipitation this month. The same is true at Dinosaur National Monument and unincorporated Massadona in western Moffat County, he added.
Precipitation records in Craig go back only to 1977, and although there are no records of months with no measurable moisture, July 1994 was very close at 0.01 inches.
Hayden saw no measurable precipitation in June and October 1933. However, the Climate Center has no records there for 2013.
Official weather observers in Maybell, Oak Creek and Yampa continue to turn in their month-end reports on paper, and Pringle does not have a report on those locations.
"Not everybody has been skunked in June," Pringle said.
At a measuring station about 33 miles north of Craig and southeast of Baggs, Wyo., inside the Colorado state line, another unofficial observer measured 0.06 inches of rain June 16. And Grand Junction has 0.03 inches of rain so far this month, coming in two different days.
Pringle said any precipitation of less than 0.01 inches is considered to be a trace and not measurable. However, he added that state climatologist Nolan Doeskin draws a distinction between zero precipitation and no measurable precipitation.
Elsewhere on Colorado's Western Slope, Montrose and Durango have not seen even a trace of precipitation this month.
One of the wettest spots in the region has been farther up the Gunnison River Valley at the ghost town of Gothic, north of Crested Butte, where a weather observer reported 0.3 inches, all of it coming on one day in June. Meanwhile, Crested Butte hasn't received any measurable moisture.
Pringle offered some hope for improved rainfall patterns here in July. The latest report from the Climate Prediction Center continues to rate the chances for average precipitation here next month as 50-50.
Average June precipitation here since 1981 has been 1.68 inches, and for July, it is 1.61 inches. All-time averages for both months are just more than 1.5 inches.
To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com