Weather forecasters are calling for above-average temperatures and low levels of humidity this week and early next week in Southwest Colorado.
They offered one bit of hope for moisture later this week, on Friday, when a thunderstorm could roll through the region. But Jimmy Fowler, meteorologist with the National Weather Service, warned it is too early to know if the storm will materialize.
High temperatures are expected to be in the 90s, with lows in the 50s this week in Durango, he said.
The above-average temperatures and below-average moisture is a pattern that has persisted through the winter, spring and first part of summer in Southwest Colorado. Forecasters blame a high-pressure system for blocking storms from reaching the Four Corners.
Forecasters say the summer rains that fall on the Southwest United States each year are on track to be slightly later but a little heavier than usual.
Brian Klimowski, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Flagstaff, Arizona, said Monday the rains will likely start between July 6 and 9. He says they could be 5 to 10 percent heavier than average in some areas.
The recurring weather pattern called the North American monsoon brings rain from the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf of California into Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.
Klimowski says the monsoon historically provides between 10 and 50 percent of the region’s annual precipitation during July, August and September.
Even an average monsoon would be welcome in the region, which is suffering through a long, severe drought.
But those rains don’t typically materialize until mid-July in Southwest Colorado.
The Climate Prediction Center says that Durango has a 50 percent chance of having above-normal precipitation in July, Fowler said.
“It’s been such a dry year that we hope it’s going to be a little more active than usual, but we can’t really say anything for sure,” he said.
Fire officials said they expect monsoons will help soak the 416 Fire, which has been burning since June 1.
Firefighters received one notable reprieve since then from Mother Nature: Remnants of Hurricane Bud, which brought just over an inch of rain June 16 and 17 to the burn area.
firstname.lastname@example.orgThe Associated Press contributed to this report.