Steamboat hasn't seen measurable rainfall since June 28

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— Steamboat Springs had not seen any rain in the first eight days of July, but that was preparing to possibly change Wednesday afternoon as dark clouds assembled to the west of the city in the lower Elk River Valley.

At the same time, the National Weather Service was predicting a 30 percent chance of heavy rain in Steamboat Springs late Wednesday afternoon and evening followed by a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms continuing through Friday night. But the forecast is expected to improve for Rainbow Weekend here when hot air balloon pilots will be eager to get aloft and artisans and fine craftspeople will be exhibiting their work in Lincoln Park.

Steamboat Springs meteorologist Mike Weissbluth wrote in an email at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday that atmospheric moisture here had “substantially increased” in the preceding 24 hours as clockwise circulation around a ridge of high pressure over the Rockies pulled moisture northwards into the Yampa Valley.

“This increase in moisture combined with high afternoon temperatures will lead to an increasing chance of showers extending through the end of the workweek,” wrote Weissbluth, who maintains the website, www.snowalarm.com.

If Weissbluth’s forecast bears out, the rainfall would be welcome, at least until the weekend. The last measurable precipitation here was the 0.27 inches that was recorded the morning of June 28, according to the official weather station in Steamboat. Just prior to that, the city had seen 0.02 inches in 15 days.

The Weather Service has reduced the chance of showers to 20 percent Saturday followed by mostly sunny skies Sunday. And Weissbluth agreed there’s still a minor chance for rain Saturday.

“Though this monsoonal moisture is suppressed to our south with the passing of a Canadian wave for the weekend, there should be enough existing moisture for a small chance of slow-moving showers,” he wrote.

Southwest Colorado will receive the most moisture from this week’s pattern.

The Weather Service already had issued a flash flood watch Wednesday afternoon for virtually all of the southwest corner of the state, extending as far north as the city of Rifle. Because of a slow moving storm front, San Miguel County near Telluride was already under a flood advisory late Wednesday.

Steamboat received a total of 0.77 inches of moisture in June compared to the “normal” 1.77 inches. Normal July rainfall is 1.52 inches.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1

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