After wet July, late summer fails to produce average rainfall in Steamboat Springs |

After wet July, late summer fails to produce average rainfall in Steamboat Springs

Raindrops dot the leaves of aspen trees near the Mad Creek barn.

The .13 inches of rain that fell on Steamboat Springs from Aug. 23 to 25 broke a nine-day run without precipitation, but it wasn't enough to put the city and the surrounding mountains back on track for average August precipitation.

With Sept. 1 just a week away, Steamboat has totaled .52 inches of moisture thus far this month, well short of the August average of 1.71 inches, according to the National Weather Service's regional climate center.

Art Judson, an unofficial weather observer for the weather service, said Monday morning that it might take a heavy thunderstorm moving slowly over the city this week to get anywhere near the monthly average.

"That's been hard to come by so far this summer," Judson said.

The subtropical weather pattern that typically brings late summer moisture north from Arizona to the Yampa Valley has been evident throughout much of the month, but primarily in the form of leaden afternoon clouds spritzing a trace of rain followed by dazzling rainbows. At 4:30 p.m. Sunday, above 10,000 feet on Buffalo Pass, light rain was being driven by wind gusts and the temperature had fallen to 47 degrees, suggesting a change of season.

Steamboat got off to a good start with .23 inches Aug. 2 and had measurable moisture each day from Aug. 4 to 7, but that only added up to .09 inches. It rained lightly again Aug. 14 before the skies dried up until this weekend.

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The weather service was forecasting that the best opportunity for significant rain this week would occur with a 50 percent chance of precipitation Monday and again Monday night. A 50 percent chance of heavy rain also had been forecast for Sunday, but that did not materialize.

The chance of rain remains in the 20 to 30 percent range Tuesday and Wednesday before mostly sunny skies return Thursday through Saturday.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email

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