Near-record rainfall at Dillon and Breckenridge
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — If September felt a little soggy, it wasn’t just your imagination. The official stats from the two National Weather Service observation sites in Summit County show that it was a month for the record books.
At Dillon, there was measurable precipitation on two out of every three days, totaling to 3.86 inches of water in what is usually one of the driest months of the year. And in Breckenridge, longtime weather observer Rick Bly measured 3.35 inches of precipitation, tied with 1908 as the second-wettest September of all time based on records going back to the late 1800s. Only September 1961 was wetter, with 3.74 inches of water.
“To me, one of the most notable things was how often it rained,” Bly said, explaining that he measured precipitation on 23 days, compared to the average 11.5 days.
September 30 also marked the end of the official water year, and after a dry start, it ended up about 20 percent above average, with a total of 22.73 inches of moisture. The average for the water year is 18.3 inches.
Looking ahead, October is the driest month of the year in Breckenridge (and most of Colorado) with an average of just 1.72 inches of precipitation — but it can be snowy, with an average of 12.34 inches of snow for the month. The snowiest October on record was in 1969, with a whopping 64.5 inches of white stuff, and the wettest on record was 1892, with 4.1 inches of water.
At Dillon, where Denver Water takes daily precipitation and temperature readings, the big rains came on Sept. 23, with 0.88 inches of water. Altogether, there was measurable precipitation on 20 days during the month.
The warmest temperature for the month was 80 degrees on Sept. 8 and 9, and that may be an all-time monthly record for October. The thermometer reached the 70-degree mark seven times, and daily highs didn’t drop below 50 until late in the month, with a 45-degree reading on Sept. 28, which also brought the coldest overnight low of the month at 19 degrees.
The average daily high was 66.8 degrees, which is very close to the historic average of 66.2 degrees, and the average daily low was 34.9 degrees, well above the average reading of 28.7 degrees.