Rain is expected Monday in Southwest Colorado after weeks of dry weather leading to heightened fire danger in the San Juan National Forest.
Megan Stackhouse, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, said a chance of rain is expected mostly after midnight Sunday and thunderstorms can be expected with the system especially in the high country.
The warm system, coming in from the California coast, is expected to bring mostly rain to the high country with Silverton and Telluride both expected to receive showers, not snow.
“It is bringing in subtropical air. There may be snow, but it will be well above pass levels so we don’t expect any transportation impacts. There may be light accumulations on the highest peaks,” Stackhouse said.
Rain could start in the high country Sunday evening, but most rain showers in the lower valleys of Southwest Colorado, including Durango, Cortez and Pagosa Springs, are expected to begin after midnight Sunday.
The chance of rain in Durango increases from 40% late Sunday night to 70% during the day Monday. In Cortez, the chance of rain Monday is listed at 60% and Pagosa Springs has an 80% chance of rain on Monday.
The system is expected to move out of Southwest Colorado Monday evening with a slight chance of rain remaining in the area through about 9 p.m. Monday.
This spring’s dominant trend, dry weather with mostly sunny skies, is expected to return for the remainder of the week, Stackhouse said.
A system now over the Pacific Northwest could move into Colorado next week, but it’s too early to determine whether it will sink far enough south to affect Southwest Colorado, and it’s expected to favor the northern part of the state, she said.
The warm, dry spring has eaten into Southwest Colorado’ snowpack that had been near normal through much of the winter. The snowpack in the Animas, Dolores, San Miguel and San Juan river basins was at 44% of the 30-year average as of Sunday, according to Colorado SNOTEL.