Thunderstorm pushes rainfall total

Steamboat tops average in July, still below normal for year

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— Two significant rain showers in Steamboat Springs during the final days of the month nudged the July precipitation count past the 92-year average.

A National Weather Service observer in Steamboat Springs measured .42 of an inch of rain on July 27 and another .41 of an inch on Tuesday. The observer also measured 1.47 inches of rain in July prior to Tuesday, making the total rainfall in July 1.88 inches.

According to the National Weather Service, the 92-year average of rainfall for the month of July in Steamboat Springs is 1.54 inches.

Despite Tuesday's rain, Steamboat remains below normal for the year. The total for the year is 12.12 inches, almost 2 inches below the 14.36 inches Steamboat normally sees in the first seven months of the year.

Tuesday's rainstorm selectively drenched the town, hitting in isolated spots at isolated times.

A strong thunderstorm dumped heavy rains in downtown Steamboat Springs and west of town at 3:15 p.m. The rain was driven by high winds and accompanied by lightning and thunder. The storm did not last long less than half an hour but was strong.

But while heavy rains fell in much of the city, parts of the town were missed completely. At the Shop-n-Hop gas station south of town, store cashier Bill Anderson said nary a drop had fallen.

"I can see it raining over there," Anderson said over the phone.

He said it was windy to the south, blowing about 20 to 30 mph.

National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Chamberlain said July precipitation in western Colorado normally is produced by monsoon rains.

He said a low pressure system in the southeast corner of Arizona and the northern portions of Mexico sucks moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf of California, producing the rain.

"They come in surges, which is typical for monsoon rains," Chamberlain said.

The spotty rain shower on Tuesday is a good example of monsoon rain coming in a surge, he said, dropping lots if rain in one area.

More rain could fall today, as the National Weather Service has forecast isolated showers in the afternoon with a 20-percent chance of thunderstorms this evening.

High temperatures throughout western Colorado are expected in the 80s today. Temperatures are expected to cool slightly later in the week, with the chance of afternoon and evening thunderstorms continuing through Saturday.

The forecast is similar throughout the rest of Colorado in the coming days, with isolated thunderstorms expected in all regions and high temperatures ranging from the upper 70s to the 90s in the plains areas and southwest Colorado.

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