Barring unforeseen rain, May-June stretch to set mark for moisture futility

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— Barring a couple of healthy thundershowers Friday and Saturday, Steamboat Springs is set up to mark the driest May-June stretch in its recorded history.

Weather observer Art Judson said Thursday afternoon that the combined precipitation total for May (0.68 inches) and June (0.1 inches) is 0.78 inches. The previous lowest May-June total was the 1.19 inches recorded in 1956, Judson said. He is a National Weather Service observer but not the official observer for Steamboat Springs. The final precipitation measurement for June will not be taken until Sunday morning.

June is, on average, the driest month of the year in Steamboat anyway with 1.54 inches of precipitation, according to Judson. May averages 2.08 inches.

Steamboat Today readers on Wednesday afternoon observed brief downpours on the east side of Rabbit Ears Pass and in the upper Elk River Valley, as well as a shower in Hayden, but none of that counted in Steamboat Springs, where the soil remained parched.

The National Weather Service in Grand Junction is calling for sunny skies and daytime temperatures in the low 90s through the weekend. That leaves a narrow window for Steamboat to get the necessary 0.42 inches of rain need to avoid setting the two-month record for the least precipitation in May and June. And there doesn’t seem to be any hope for rain through Thursday.

The Weather Service is reporting that the early break-out of a monsoon flow of moisture that brought scattered thundershowers to Northwest Colorado has gone back into hibernation for the time being as a westerly flow aloft has cut if off. It is that westerly flow that will dominate the local weather trend through at least July 5.

Going back in weather records prior to the drought of early summer 1956, Judson said, 1918 was another dry May-June with combined precipitation of 1.25 inches. It’s possible that 1919 was the driest May-June of all, he added, but a missing day of data, one in each month, makes it impossible to say with certainty.

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