Durango didn’t quite make it to 100 degrees Saturday or Sunday, with the mercury topping out at 99 degrees on Sunday – and that might mark the peak heat for 2020, with temperatures expected to drop to the low 90s next week.
If you’re particularly lucky, you might also feel a rain drop or two next week.
Tom Renwick, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, said Durango and Southwest Colorado will see a slight chance of “very isolated” rain storms Monday through Wednesday with the chance of rain increasing Thursday through the weekend.
“Early in the week, you’ll be lucky if you feel a drop or two. However, it looks as though for Thursday onwards, there is a chance for moisture to start picking up coming in from the south,” Renwick said.
Durango’s Saturday high temperature of 98 did break the record of 96, and the high temperature for Sunday, 99, topped the record of 97. The average highs for Durango in mid-July are in the lower 90s.
The potential precipitation this week comes as a high-pressure system that had settled over the Four Corners sinks to the south allowing storms building up off the coast of California to move inland, Renwick said.
The storms follow a monsoonal pattern, but they can’t yet be called monsoon storms because they are unlikely to be sustained beyond the weekend, Renwick said.
“I don’t even want to bring up the ‘M’ word,” he said. “When we get the monsoon, it usually sets up and persists. I wouldn’t call this the monsoon,” he said.
Last year, monsoon rains disappointed, but it’s too early to say the monsoons have failed this year.
Renwick said monsoon season typically starts in mid-July and extend into early September, but the pattern migrates around the calendar and differs in its exact timing each year.
Any pronouncement that the monsoons have failed can’t come until at least mid-August or even late August, Renwick said.
Cortez also is hot with the high topping out at 99 on Sunday, but like Durango’s temperatures, they will drop later this week, with the same slight chance of rain early in the week with the chance of rain building Thursday and into the weekend.
Cortez is under a red-flag warning along with most of Southwest Colorado that will extend to 9 p.m. Monday. The red flag warning said gusty winds and low humidity that creates ideal conditions for the rapid spread of wildfires.
Fire bans remain in place in La Plata and Montezuma counties and the San Juan National Forest. The fire bans generally prohibit open fires and fireworks.
In the San Juan National Forest, fires are prohibited including building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, including charcoal grills and barbecues, coal and wood-burning stoves, and sheepherder’s stoves. Also, smoking is banned except within an enclosed vehicle, trailer or building.