San Juan County enters July with renewed hope for strong monsoons

Despite high temperatures and continued dry conditions, San Juan County is entering July with renewed hope for a strong monsoon season.

After record-high temperatures in the early part of the month, the weather conditions changed and indicate that the southwest monsoon, which generally arrives in mid-July, may arrive early in 2021.

June was hot and dry, with a record-high temperature of 106 degrees in Bluff on June 16.  The high temperature on that day ties the all-time record for the entire month, which was 106 degrees in Bluff on June 20, 1939.  The all-time high temperature in Bluff is 109 degrees.

It was similarly hot in Blanding and Monticello, with the average high temperatures significantly higher than normal.

Conditions were ripe for wildfires, with hot weather, strong winds, dry conditions, and low humidity. The Pack Creek fire on the La Sal Mountains consumed nearly 9,000 acres of land, in addition to a number of homes and other structures.

The arrival of the wetter monsoon season is often marked by thunderstorms and lightning strikes. Incoming storms have been carefully watched in these dry conditions and there have been several lightning-caused fires that were extinguished before they grew.

In addition, the earlier storms at this time of the year are “locally isolated,” meaning some areas receive a drenching storm while nearby areas are mostly dry.

A storm on June 25 in Monticello brought more than a half-inch of rain to the weather station at Monticello Elementary School, but only .08 of an inch at the official weather station just a few blocks away.

It was similar in other locations throughout the county, with isolated flash flooding in some areas and no rain nearby.

San Juan Record

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