Steamboat nears April precipitation average after storm |

Steamboat nears April precipitation average after storm

Fire restrictions to remain in place for foreseeable future

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— A storm that dropped nearly three-quarters of an inch of rain on Steamboat Springs late this week is helping April creep closer to its precipitation norm.

Steamboat weather observer Art Judson recorded 0.71 inches of rain overnight Thursday, bringing April's total precipitation in the city to 2.03 inches. That's just short of the historic average of 2.29 inches.

The effects of the rain are becoming apparent as the hillsides surrounding Steamboat turn from winter brown to spring and summer green. Aspen groves across the valley already are sprouting green leaves, something that often doesn't happen until June in more typical years.

However, fire conditions persist. Unincorporated parts of Routt County, excluding federally owned lands, have been under a fire restriction since April 18. And although moisture has returned, it hasn't been enough to douse the threat of wildfire.

"It's definitely helped, but if we get hot and windy for a couple days, we'll be back to where we were," said Bob Struble, director of Routt County Emergency Management.

He said the fire danger overall is moderate, particularly at lower elevations. The fire restrictions will remain in place for the foreseeable future, Struble said.

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"I'm sure there are some people that would like to see them lifted, but we're not ready to do that quite yet," Struble said.

During the months of May, June and July, the National Weather Service in Grand Junction is predicting a strong chance for above-average temperatures. Models are showing average moisture for that same three-month period, meteorologist Mike Meyers said Friday.

In the short term, a gradual warming trend is expected through Tuesday, when the daytime high could reach 72 degrees in Steamboat Springs. The next chance for moisture arrives Tuesday night, when a weak trough is expected to move into the region.

"It doesn't look like a big event," he said.

Saturday is expected to be mostly sunny with a high of 56 degrees. The overnight low will drop to 28 degrees. Sunday will be sunny with a high of 61.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email

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