High Country heat isn’t quite a record | VailDaily.com

High Country heat isn’t quite a record

Cliff Thompson

AVON – If you think it’s been hot this week – you’re quite right.Tuesday afternoon the mercury hit 95 in Avon. It wasn’t a record but it came within a whisker of hitting the record of 96. That temperature had drivers turning on their air conditioners and homeowners breaking out the fans.”We’re under an extreme heat event,” said Avon’s Frank Doll, who has been tracking weather here since 1968. “It’s definitely hot.” On top of the heat, there has been no widespread rain for more than a week, and that has driven the wildland fire danger up to its highest levels of the year. “We’re drying out quick,” said Eric Rebitzke, a fire officer for the U.S Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. “We’re looking at high to very high fire indices with the recent dry spell, all the fuels are starting to cure out. It will be ripe for fire.”The one saving grace of the heat and dryness has been a lack of lightning that sparks most of the fires in the mountains, Rebitzke said. Missing are the regular northerly flow of moisture that occurs in mid-summer. “What’s unusual is the summer monsoons have held off,” he said. “They just haven’t come up yet.”The near and long-term forecasts call for more of the same through next week. But the hottest may be over, according to the National Weather Service. July 13 has for the last three years seen the hottest temperature of the year in Grand Junction – 103 degrees. That’s close to the all-time record of 105, said Dan Zumpfe, meteorologist. For example, it was 112 in Phoenix Wednesday, but that’s more a normal summer day there.”It’s typically the peak of heat through the year,” he said, adding that a huge high pressure system over the western U.S. will hold through next week. Temperatures may cool a degree or two over the week, but no major changes in the weather are forecast, he said.”There’s nothing on the horizon,” he said.Staff Writer Cliff Thompson can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 450, or cthompson@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado

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