Weekend heat won't last

Dropping temperatures, rain predicted for next week

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With today's forecasted afternoon highs to reach 93 degrees (two degrees shy of the 1934 record) and news of heat wave-related deaths in central California, many Routt County residents may be preparing unnecessarily for summer's dog days.

No worries -- cooler weather is not far off.

"Our temperatures are running fairly consistently above the normal, 30-year seasonal average, but nothing record-breaking to be concerned about," said Dan Zumpfe, meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction.

Waiting on a Friday fan shipment, Ace at the Curve salesperson Dona Harrison said she has noticed a steady stream of summer customers looking to buy appliances to help them beat the heat, nearly emptying shelves.

Zumpfe said weather patterns suggest that Steamboat Springs is due for a respite from the recent high temperatures in the immediate future.

"(Friday) and the (previous) 36 hours have been a break in the monsoonal moisture cycles," Zumpfe said of changes in wind direction in the Gulf of California that push moisture into the Western states. The moisture influx, combined with intense heat results in afternoon thundershowers.

Although Zumpfe said the pattern of partly cloudy skies with a chance of thunderstorms is expected to last until at least Tuesday, the good news is the decrease in afternoon temperatures -- going from Sunday highs in the low 90s to Monday-through-Wednesday highs in the low 80s.

"You'll start to notice the cumulus clouds starting (today), and monsoon patterns over the higher terrain first, before moving to the valley floor by Monday," Zumpfe said.

After a dry May, Routt National Forest supervising forester Kent Foster said he welcomes the moisture, which decreases the potential for a lightning strike to ignite a forest fire and increases tree resiliency to bark beetles.

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