Valley welcomes rain

Steamboat receives .61 inches

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— Monday afternoon's rainfall in Steamboat Springs wasn't insignificant. But it wasn't a drought breaker either.

A weather spotter for the National Weather Service reported that .61 inches of rain fell on the city's west side Monday afternoon and evening.

That kind of one-day rainfall event has happened once or twice a summer during the past five years, she said.

Unfortunately, Monday's rain should not be taken as a sign of things to come. Meteorologist Doug Crowley said the precipitation was an aberration.

"We haven't got anything coming to break down the drought," Crowley said. "It was an anomalous pattern. It was a strong low pressure system that came in off the Pacific Northwest and slowed down as it moved over us."

As the system slowed down, it allowed moisture to feed in ahead of the advancing low-pressure trough and kick off thunderstorms, Crowley said. He is the meteorologist in charge of the Grand Junction office of the National Weather Service.

The biggest single one-day rainfall total since 1997 was the .93 inches that fell on Aug. 10, 2001.

Steamboat usually averages 1.48 inches of rain during the month of June, according to the National Weather Service. One would have to search back in the records more than 50 years to find the rainiest June on record in Steamboat the city recorded 4.31 inches in June 1945.

Typically, the highest rainfall totals arrive here in August or early September, when the Yampa Valley often comes under the influence of a monsoon weather pattern. In August, subtropical moisture boiling up from Mexico often produces local rainfall. Crowley said June is typically among the driest months of the year on Colorado's Western Slope.

Steamboat received more rain yesterday than any other location on the Western Slope, Crowley said. Most of the rain was north of I-70 and few locations had more than three-tenths of an inch. Canyonlands National Park in southeastern Utah was an exception, recording four-tenths of an inch.

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