National Weather Service forecasters in Grand Junction described conditions in western Colorado as almost tropical, with dew points in the mid-40s and 50s, which means there’s plenty of moisture available for condensation and formation of rain clouds. Precipitable water values in the atmosphere hovered close to 1 inch Sunday, and while a bit of drying is expected over western Colorado Monday, chances for rain remain good the next few days…
The rain won’t put a big dent in the long-term drought; only a big winter, or possibly an El Niño-fueled wet autumn, will help with that. But the monsoon rains could take the edge of the fire danger during the peak of the busy summer season, and help boost stream flows and lower stream temperatures just a bit until the days get a little shorter with more radiational cooling at night. That’s good news for fish. A large high pressure ridge over Colorado is forecast to move slightly eastward Monday and Tuesday, enabling a large plume of subtropical moisture move northward over Colorado, bringing more widely scattered showers the first part of the week. Most storms should deliver about 0.25 inches of water, with higher amounts possible under some of the stronger, slower-moving storms.
From the CWCB Colorado Flood Threat Portal (John Henz):
Monsoon moisture has split the state into two very different local climate regimes for the past five days. East of the Divide hot, dry weather dominates with near record temperatures in the mid-90 to low 100’s. West of the Divide monsoon moisture has produced strong thunderstorms, rains and reports of mud and rock slides, small stream flooding. Extensive cloud cover and rains have resulted in below normal temperature. It’ll be another LOW FLOOD THREAT day west of the Divide. We are issuing a MODERATE FLOOD THREAT for Ouray, San Juan, Gunnison, Pitkin, Lake, Summit, Eagle Garfield and Grand Counties where repeated rains have saturated the soils producing a higher likelihood of mud and rock slides and flash flooding. Hot, dry conditions will prevail east of the Divide before sunset. However look for the monsoon moisture to spill east of the Divide near sunset producing a round of gusty thundershowers along the Front Range foothills and urban corridor…
Saturday a strong surge of monsoon storms moved through Arizona causing extensive flooding issues and heavy rain. This new monsoon surge will arrive in Colorado this afternoon and linger into Tuesday evening increasing rainfall and storminess across western portions of the state [Sunday] that could spill over into northeastern Colorado [Sunday] evening.
The flood threat for [Sunday] will focus on the central Colorado mountains where strong storms will likely form and repeatedly move over the same areas. This storm training effect and rain rates of 0.50in to 1.50 inch /hr will produce minor stream flooding and rock slides. Wind gusts to 60mph and hail to 1.00 inch in diameter will be possible with severe storms. Storms across the northern mountains, Front Range and northeastern plains could produce strong microburst winds of 50-65mph, small hail and active cloud-to-ground lightning with squally rains of 0.25in/15-20 minutes.
From The Pueblo Chieftain (Ryan Severance):
Eric Hanagan, who owns Hanagan Farms, said the rain is a mixed bag for crops. “You know, it’s good and bad,” he said. “The timing isn’t great because we are starting to harvest right now with melons and squash and stuff, and any excess moisture can cause some damage if it’s too prolonged…
Hanagan said the biggest benefit of the recent moisture is its impact on farmer’s morale. “A good, consistent rain like that gives renewed optimism for all of us farmers and reminds us that it actually can rain again,” Hanagan said. “It will help out some with our crops, too — everything is coming along.”
From Steamboat Today (Matt Stensland):
The 85 cfs threshold is dictated by the Yampa River Management Plan. A voluntary fishing ban remains in effect for the town stretch of the Yampa River. Private tubing, kayaking and swimming also are included in the voluntary ban that takes effect when the river’s flow dips below 85 cfs…
Efforts are being made to keep the river at healthy levels.
The Colorado Water Trust agreed June 25 to pay $140,000 to the Upper Yampa Water Conservancy District to lease 4,000 acre-feet of water from Stagecoach Reservoir. That water began flowing out of the reservoir June 28 and is expected to contribute about 26 cfs to the Yampa through September. There also is a proposal to release water from Lake Catamount. The Catamount Homeowners Association has offered to donate 500 acre-feet of water from the lake, but it needs the city of Steamboat to move its 500 acre-feet of emergency reserves currently located at Stagecoach downstream to Lake Catamount.
From The Mountain Mail:
Compromising on flow levels so anglers, trout and the rafting industry will all prosper caused debate during the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area Citizens Task Force meeting Thursday. Roy Vaughan with the Bureau of Reclamation said the bureau’s highest priority with the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project is the fish hatchery, which prefers about 250 cubic feet per second.