Southwest Colorado’s wet June is expected to get wetter this weekend before the month’s normally hot, dry conditions gain the upper hand.
The National Weather Service in Grand Junction calls for a chance of rain Friday evening through Sunday morning in the Four Corners.
“There will be a shift in the jet stream that will amplify the southerly transport of tropical moisture, similar to a monsoon storm,” said Erin Walter, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction.
The storms likely will begin early Friday afternoon, in many places with strong winds and virga – rain that evaporates before it hits the ground.
In most of Southwest Colorado, rain is expected to be heavier Saturday than Friday, Walter said.
“Saturday, you should see a really good surge of moisture. You’ll see storms firing off by 9 a.m. along the Colorado-Utah border then moving east through the day,” she said.
In Durango, there’s a 30% chance of rain Friday, a 70% chance Saturday and a 50% chance Saturday night. Sunday, the likelihood of rain drops to 20%.
Walter expected about a tenth of an inch of rain Friday in Durango and a 0.25 of an inch Saturday.
Durango has received 0.45 of an inch of rain this month through Thursday. Durango averages 0.61 of an inch of rain in June, 1.64 inches in July and 2.58 inches in August.
In Cortez, the best chance for rain is 40% Saturday. Friday and Saturday night, Cortez has a 20% chance of rain.
Telluride has a 40% chance of rain after noon Friday, a 50% to 60% chance of rain Saturday, and a 20% chance Saturday night and Sunday.
Silverton has a 50% chance for rain Friday night, a 70% chance Saturday afternoon and 60% chance Saturday evening.
Walter said the high country could see up to a half inch of rain Saturday before the storm clears out of the region Sunday.
Walter said the monsoon has not yet started. The monsoon typically starts in early to mid-July.
Still, there is a chance the unusual June rain indicates an earlier-than-normal monsoon pattern. Below-normal snowfall often is followed by an earlier-than-normal monsoon, Walter said.
Dry, hot weather is expected next week.
Stage 1 fire restrictions put in place in mid-May remain in effect in La Plata County on U.S. Forest Service and on Southern Ute lands.
Durango Fire Protection District Fire Marshal Karola Hanks said burn permits have been canceled during Stage 1 fire restrictions and no burning is allowed, despite the anticipated rains.
“It’s difficult to tell when the restrictions will be lifted. Current projections don’t show good, consistent amounts of moisture over a period of time, which is what we would need to see to lift the fire restrictions,” she said.
Stage 1 fire restrictions include:
A ban on open burns, burn barrels and agricultural burning. Some agricultural producers are exempt from Stage 1 fire restrictions.Smoking must be confined to enclosed vehicles or buildings, in developed recreational sites or in an area that is surrounded by 3 feet in diameter that is clear of flammable vegetation.A ban on using explosive material, such as fireworks, blasting caps or incendiary devices.[email protected]