A wasp rides out a rainstorm in the middle of a flower near Emerald Mountain Park.

Photo by Scott Franz

A wasp rides out a rainstorm in the middle of a flower near Emerald Mountain Park.

Outskirts of Steamboat see more than 1.5 inches of rain in less than 24 hours

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— The 22-hour monsoon event that soaked Steamboat Springs overnight was about three-tenths of an inch short of the record for July 30, but it sure felt like a record at reporting weather stations around the periphery of the city.

Senior forecaster Chris Cuoco at the National Weather Service in Grand Junction confirmed that the official rainfall total for the 24 hours preceding 7 a.m. Wednesday was 0.98 inches, well short of the record of 1.29 inches set in July 1996.

“We did not get an official record,” Cuoco said.

However, volunteer weather watchers contributing to the CoCoRaHS network tallied as much as 1.58 inches in a rain gauge 1.2 miles southeast of the city, and 1.65 inches 2 miles east-southeast of Steamboat Springs. And it was Steamboat that bore the brunt of the storm.

CoCoRaHS is the acronym for the national Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow network originated by Colorado State University in 1998. A CoCoRaHS weather watcher 1.7 miles northwest of Oak Creek recorded 0.33 inches as of 6:35 a.m. Wednesday, and another with a rain gauge 0.7 miles northwest of Clark recorded 0.77 inches at 7 a.m. Almost 7 miles southwest of Steamboat, a weather observer measured 0.43 inches at 7 a.m.

The good news was that Steamboat, along with Routt and Moffat counties, was not under a flash flood watch as was Colorado’s entire Front Range on Wednesday morning. Still, the rain locally was enough to boost flows in the Yampa River all the way from 200 cubic feet per second on Tuesday to 873 cfs at 1:15 p.m. Wednesday.

The rain had let up by 10:30 a.m. on the west side of Steamboat and resumed by 11:30 a.m., with still more cold precipitation on the way and a 40 percent chance of rain overnight. The chance of rain continues at 20 percent through Thursday night, with an increased chance of thunderstorms Friday. But the forecast for the weekend is mostly sunny both days with high temperatures in the low 80s.

Cuoco’s colleagues Norvan Larson and Ellen Heffernan produced a long-term forecast Wednesday that indicates that while a high pressure system will improve the outlook for the weekend, it will gradually move to the east and subtropical moisture will return through the middle of the first week in August.

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

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