Northeastern Colorado has been soaked since May, thunderstorms and prolonged rains have saturated widespread areas in what’s shaping up to be the wettest start to the year, or close to it, for some cities and towns.
Rainfall totals from Jan. 1 to June 13 include 14.71 inches in Colorado Springs. The city’s mark is the top of all time for year-to-date rainfall, beating out 2015 (14.11) for the same period.
Up and down the Front Range and east of Metro Denver are posting similar rainfall totals with many cracking the top 10 spots for year-to-date totals so far in 2023.
Rainfall totals elsewhere since Jan. 1 include: Boulder: 13.07; Castle Rock: 13.48; Denver: 10.81; Evergreen: 11.58; Fort Collins: 11.22; Fort Morgan: 12.53; Greeley: 10.55; Julesburg: 9.63; Longmont: 12.85; and Loveland: 10.35.
Prolonged, widespread rain has set daily and monthly records in some hard-hit spots.
On Sunday and Monday 5.44 inches of rain fell at the Colorado Springs Airport, the highest two-day period ever for the location, which serves as an official weather station for the city, said state climatologist Russ Schumacher, director of the Colorado Climate Center.
On Sunday night intense rain hit the Fort Collins area and along the northern Interstat25 corridor with up to 4.6 inches in some spots and localized flash flooding, Schumacher said.
“Certainly the May-June period has been very wet east of the Continental divide,” Schumacher said. “All together it’s been a pretty wet year.”
Colorado Springs is in the midst of its third wettest all-time May-June period, with more than half the month to come, at 12.3 inches trailing only the same two-month period in 2015 (13.85) and 1995 (12.61), according to Schumacher.
In Denver, since Jan. 1, the city has received 10.81 inches of rainfall through June 13, according to the National Weather Service. The wettest period for Denver over the same time frame was in 1957 with 14.07 inches. In 2023, Denver is ranked 15th of all time for rainfall into mid-June.
South of Denver along I-25, Castle Rock has received 13.48 inches of rain since the start of the year. It’s the second all-time, year-to-date record for the Douglas County city, trailing only the same time period of 2015 at 15.90 inches.
“It’s impressive how close everyone seems to be year-to-date,” said Paul Schlatter, a meteorologist at NWS Boulder.
All the moisture has saturated widespread areas of northeastern Colorado, where recent flood watches, advisories and warnings have been posted by the weather service. Heavy rains and storms brought flash flooding to the Cameron Peak wildfire burn area in parts of Larimer County earlier this month.
On Tuesday, the weather service issued a flood warning for the South Platte River affecting Washington, Logan and Morgan counties where minor flooding is occurring. A flood warning was also posted for the Arkansas River in Pueblo County. Minor flooding is in the forecast for the lower Arkansas to include Rocky Ford, La Junta and Lamar.
“It’s nothing record-setting at this point,” Schumacher said of the flooding, “but it’s certainly starting to have an impact.”
Elsewhere in Colorado large streams and rivers, including the Cache la Poudre and South Platte from around Greeley to Sterling, will be running high, the weather service said.
Thunderstorms are again expected in northeastern Colorado on Thursday and Friday, with the potential for heavy rain and severe storms over the Eastern Plains. A drier, summer-like weather pattern is expected to arrive late this weekend and continue into next week.
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