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August Monsoons Break Period of Hot, Dry Weather

Austin Cope
Early morning clouds hang over the Cortez area on Tuesday morning. The area has seen increased moisture and lower temperatures since the end of July, but Southwest Colorado remains in moderate drought

July was drier and hotter than normal in the Cortez area, but August’s prospects appear better.

Weather observer Jim Andrus told the Montezuma County commissioners Monday that July saw just 75 percent of typical precipitation, but August is already at 106 percent of the long-term average. Andrus said July averaged three degrees hotter than normal and the 90-day outlook is for continued warmer temperatures. The predicted dry “La Niña” weather pattern may not materialize and there is a chance for a normal snowpack this year, but at present Southwest Colorado remains in moderate drought. The recent monsoonal moisture prompted the San Juan National Forest to lift fire restrictions. Those restrictions had been only for national-forest lands south of U.S. Highway 160.

Gail Binkly is a career journalist who has worked for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Cortez Journal. She is currently a freelance writer as well as the editor of the Four Corners Free Press, based in Cortez.
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