Precipitation for June already almost double average

Precipitation totals

City : May : June*

Craig**: 1.79" : 2.30"

Meeker: 2.14" : 2.55"

Steamboat Springs: 1.97" : 1.82"

Rangely: 1.47" : 1.86"

* June totals are as of June 16

** Averages for Craig: May: 1.54 inches, June: 1.16 inches

Source: National Weather Service in Grand Junction

If it feels as though it's been raining more than normal, that's because it has.

More than double the norm, in fact.

Rain totals for the first half of June are almost twice the average for the entire month. Through June 16, the National Weather Service reported Craig received 2.30 inches of precipitation.

The monthly average is 1.16 inches.

"June for Western Colorado is normally the driest month of the year," National Weather Service Meteorologist Joe Ramey said. "(Northwest Colorado) is close to a cold front that's been in southern Wyoming helping to increase thunderstorm activity."

For the past four to six weeks, this cold front has stretched from west to east along southern Wyoming.

Occasionally, it gets pushed down through the Denver area, Ramey said. It's been along that cold front that severe weather, including hailstorms and tornadoes on the Front Range, have been occurring.

Although the gray skies and dreary rain have put a damper on many summer activities, Ramey said Northwest Coloradoans should be thankful for the precipitation.

"It wasn't too many years ago we were in severe drought," he said. "We're out of that now, and overall, this rain has been a pretty good thing. It definitely has repercussions because temperatures have been cool. But any change has repercussions for different industries and peoples' interests."

In Grand Junction, several plants and crops are having trouble with cooler temperatures and frosts.

However, in Northwest Colorado, the moisture has had helpful effects on the agricultural community, said Marsha Daughenbaugh, executive director of the Community Agriculture Alliance, a nonprofit organization promoting the preservation of Northwest Colorado's agricultural heritage.

"Overall, it's very positive because it's the first time in about 10 years the ground is nice and wet going into summer," Daughenbaugh said. "We've had lots of good rain in the afternoon and no frost since the snow melted."

Daughenbaugh said there has been some limited hail involved in the severe storms, but no reports of damage to crops.

Plants such as alfalfas and grasses are not very tall but are very full and green.

"Everything is as lush and green as it gets right now," she said. "If it continues like this and dries up around August for the farmers to harvest, it should be very good for them. It's hard to criticize the rain when we've gone so many years without enough of it here."

For those waiting for the sun to return, Ramey said there is some hope for summer in the long term.

"It looks like things will start changing over the long term as we start building high pressure next week," Ramey said. "It will get a little warmer and drier. Not dry, but drier."

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