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Southwest Colorado may see rain this week

Increased humidity brings positive outlook for fire danger in coming weeks
Durango has only experiencing between .01 and .5 inches of precipiatation in the last 60 days. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file)

Southwest Colorado may finally experience the monsoonal moisture it’s been lacking, as precipitation is anticipated in this week’s forecast.

National Weather Service Meteorologist David Byers said that there’s a strong chance for rain in Durango on Tuesday and Wednesday with scattered thunderstorms throughout the week.

It has been an arid summer in the region, as Durango’s only had between 0.01 and 0.5 inches of precipitation in the last 60 days, according to the NWS Advanced Hydrological Prediction Survey.

Cortez has struggled receiving moisture, and Pagosa Springs has also experienced a similar lack of precipitation.

Byers seemed optimistic about this week’s surge of monsoonal moisture, and long-term projections appear to ensure rain will come in the following weeks.

He said Durango could experience around a half-inch of rain on Tuesday night, and Pagosa Springs could see the same. Cortez is likely to receive a little bit less with only a quarter-inch on Tuesday night.

“Some of the higher mountains again could see about 2 inches. But that's pretty typical of the south face of convective storms,” he said.

Storm chance also appear promising this upcoming weekend, as Durango could see up to a quarter-inch of rain each day.

Byers said this should help alleviate some of the red flag warnings and hazardous weather conditions the area has been experiencing.

“Just the increased humidity really helps tamp down the fire, and any rain that you get on top of that is a bonus. Anything over a tenth of an inch is considered wetting rain to the fire industry,” he said.

Southwest Colorado and the Colorado-New Mexico border have been plagued by wild fire over the last couple weeks. Two fires broke out near Navajo Lake, while the Dry Lake fire broke out east of Bayfield.

San Juan County, New Mexico is currently under drought statuses ranging from abnormally dry to severe drought, while much of Southwest Colorado is classified as abnormally dry, according to the U.S. Drought Survey.

Stage 1 fire restrictions are still in place in La Plata County, San Juan National Forest, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe and Bureau Land Management property.


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