Last month’s precipitation just 7 percent of normal
In a typical June, 1.07 inches of rain is recorded at Doll’s weather station in Avon, he says. This year the total was .08. That’s is 7 percent of normal.
“It’s the lowest precipitation I’ve ever recorded in any month, ever,” says Doll, 81, who’s been taking weather readings at his home in Avon since 1968.
The few locally scattered showers that have appeared have pelted some higher elevations with slightly more rain, but overall, it has been hot and dry.
On Monday, the humidity – just 6 percent – was more akin to a parched desert than a mountain valley. The dryness has created extreme wildland fire danger that has fire crews on high alert level and has prompted a county-wide fire ban.
The month’s warmest temperature was 92 degrees Fahrenheit on June 25; the coldest, 36 degrees, occurred on both June 11 and 12. The average daily high temperature was 85; the average low was 46.
“This is a serious, serious drought,” says Doll. “They keep saying the monsoon rains are coming.”
Flows in the Eagle River already have reached what’s typical for early autumn. Tuesday’s flow at the Avon gaging station was just 157 cubic feet per second, or cfs, just 30 percent of the mean flow of 511 cfs.
Colorado’s “monsoon” rains typically begin in mid-July, says Brian Avery, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service. Monsoons draw moisture northward from the gulfs of Mexico and California, bringing afternoon rains to the Rockies.
The long-term forecast calls for continues hot and dry, but with more moisture, Avery says. He’s expecting the first of the moisture to hit Eagle County by the end of this week.
Indeed, moisture will be a key ingredient in controlling about a dozen wildfires burning in Colorado. The most active fire is the 71,000-acre Missionary Ridge fire near Durango, which has forced intermittent evacuations of residents.