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Colorado's summer monsoon season is on the way

More rain in store for what's typically one of the wettest times in Colorado
Colorado flash flooding.jpg
Posted at 11:39 AM, Jul 18, 2023

The summer monsoon season is about to arrive just as we finally get a break from all the recent rain over the past couple of months in Colorado.

We have broken several rainfall records, and we are not done with the rain just yet.

Summer monsoon season could mean more rain in what is typically one of the wettest times in Colorado.

We've already seen plenty of hail, thunderstorms and yes, even a tornado right through the metro area. That tornado happened back in June in the Highlands Ranch area. It all came after a record cold and snowy winter, and Mother Nature is finally giving us a bit of a break, but it's a small one.

"We're not quite done yet with what we've typically had this year as far as the wetness and the coldness across the region," Greg Heavener, a Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Boulder, said.

The summer wet spell Heavener referred to is known as the summer monsoon in Colorado. The word monsoon refers to the seasonal shift in the wind direction.

In Colorado, that leads to stormy weather in the months of July and August. We get an area of low pressure over the Desert Southwest that draws up moisture from the Pacific Ocean. In addition to that, a ridge of high pressure to the east pulls in moisture from the Gulf of Mexico.

"Some hail, primarily heavy rain flash flood and definitely lots of cloud to ground lightning strikes occur when the monsoon season gets going," Heavener said. He also said our summer monsoon produces our most active lightning season. That is due to the amount of moisture, the amount of lift and how slowly storms tend to move .

Heavener said this year, we can expect a later start to the season, and just how much rain we'll see is hard to forecast. One thing is for sure: Heavener said monsoon season is on its way, and any additional rainfall we get could cause high water levels and issues with some of our streams and creeks which could lead to flash flooding.

With many Coloradans hiking up in the high country, flash flooding safety is critical as we head into monsoon season. Weather experts suggest hitting the mountain trails early in the day, and you'll want to be off those exposed mountain peaks early. Know the easiest route back to your car. Staying in your car during a thunderstorm is a safer place to be, If flash flooding does happen, head to higher ground. Plan ahead and stay up to date with the Denver7 forecast.

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