Small chance of clouds in Steamboat for total eclipse? | SteamboatToday.com

Small chance of clouds in Steamboat for total eclipse?

Virga — rain that never reaches the ground — caught the light of the setting sun at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 17 and appeared to dance over Lincoln Avenue. The green tint in the upper lefthand corner is attributable to a tinted automobile windshield.

People stuck in Routt County for the total eclipse on Monday face a small possibility that clouds could interfere with one of the celestial events of a lifetime.

Steamboat Springs-based meteorologist Mike Weissbluth forecast on Aug. 17 that Steamboat Springs will see warmer and drier weather for the weekend thanks to a ridge of high pressure to the west. However, the weather is a little iffy for Monday.

"Another surge of cooler air from the northern latitudes produces an additional wave that crosses the southern British Columbia coast on Friday," Weissbluth wrote in an e-mail. "This will temper the strength of the ridge as the bulk of the storm again travels north of our area."

However, Weissbluth, who publishes forecasts at Snowlarm.com, sees a possibility that a trough of low pressure off the California coast could drive upper level moisture to the south of Northwest Colorado.

"This could threaten the viewing of the 2017 solar eclipse on Monday, though right now it appears there is enough dry air lurking to our north to keep the clouds at bay for the Steamboat Springs event," Weissbluth said.

However, people with plans to drive north into Wyoming for the eclipse should be in the clear, he added.

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Intellicast predicts no precipitation here through Aug. 26 with clear to partly cloudy skies dominating the 10-day forecast.

After an unusually dry month of July in the Yampa Valley, the first half of August reversed the trend with 1.01 inches of rainfall that was almost a 10th of an inch greater than the "normal" for the entire month of .92 inches, according to the National Weather Service.

Kate Gmeiner, who maintains a rain gauge located between downtown Steamboat Springs and Mount Werner for the Colorado Community Rain, Hail and Snow Network, recorded just .58 inches of rain in July. That compares to the National Weather Service's stated "normal" of 1.52 inches.

The typical summer monsoons failed to make an appearance in July, and the heaviest one-day rainfall that month was the .16 inches Gmeiner recorded on July 22.

The rainiest period in August was recorded  on the eighth and ninth days of the month when .3 inches and .31 inches fell back to back.

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

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