Vail Valley weather may dry out this weekend
Expect another round of monsoonal moisture next week
Summer in the Vail Valley and the Western Slope used to feature monsoon moisture that brought afternoon showers in July and August. That pattern has disappeared for the past few years.
This year has seen a return to the monsoon patterns. That’s been good news for a drought-parched region, particularly area streamflows. But the monsoons have also been bad news when dumping rain on wildfire burn scars.
The closure of Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon is the direct result of a lot of precipitation in a short time. The giant slides that have closed the highway indefinitely are due to the canyon being hit with four inches of rain in just five days. The area usually sees about 2.5 inches for the entire month of July.
The crews cleaning up the canyon — along with just about everyone else who plays outside in the summer — will get a break this weekend.
Erin Walter, a meteorologist at the Grand Junction office of the National Weather Service, said high pressure is building in the region. That will keep out the flow of tropical moisture.
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Walter said she expects the weekend to be “relatively quiet,” with the exception of some thunderstorms that might build up over the Continental Divide.
While the weekend is expected to be mostly dry, Walter said those days could bring some strong winds to the area.
Recent rains have prompted fire officials to rescind fire restrictions. White River National Forest spokeswoman Kelsha Anderson said the recent wet weather has provided a bit of a breather to fire crews who have been busy with this summer’s wildfires.
Firefighters are still keeping a close eye on conditions, noting that lightning from thunderstorms can still spark fires.
“We’ve been able to catch them so far,” Anderson said.
The drying pattern is expected to last only a few days before tropical moisture returns to the area.
Walter said monsoonal moisture could return to the San Juan Mountains in southwest Colorado by Aug. 10 or so, with the pattern moving farther north a few days later.
That’s good news for fire danger, but between winds and warm, dry weather, it’s hard to tell how long the loosened fire restrictions will last.
“We just have to take it one week at a time,” Anderson said.
Here’s the National Weather Service forecast for Vail for Aug. 5-8
Aug. 5: Sunny, with a high near 82.
Aug. 6: Mostly sunny, with a high near 82. There’s a 30% chance of showers and thunderstorms after noon.
Aug. 7: Sunny, with a high near 80.
Aug. 8: Sunny, with a high near 81.