Photo Courtesy of CDOT. Interstate-70 was shut down twice this weekend between Exit 133 (Dotsero) and Exit 116 (CO 82, Glenwood Springs) due to back-to-back mudslides.

Something the National Weather Service is calling "monsoon moisture" continues to result in heavy rainfall in parts of Colorado, with storms expected to continue on and off throughout the week.

While the term "monsoon moisture" might sound scary, this is actually something that Colorado benefits from. According to a report from 9News, the jet stream retreats to Canada during the warmer summer months of the year, meaning that the North American Monsoon is what Colorado relies on for rain in July and August. Some years are very dry, while others can get very wet.

While the spring and early summer have been quite wet in some parts of the state, Colorado is still in need of moisture, specifically in the west. According to the US Drought Monitor, slightly more than 40 percent of the state was experiencing drought as of July 13, with around 18 percent of the state experiencing exceptional drought – the worst of four stages. While 40 percent of the state experiencing drought is much better than the 70 percent of the state under drought conditions this time last year, no portion of the state was experiencing drought at the 'exceptional' level this time in 2020.

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While many Coloradans are likely happy to see the rain, it's important to realize that this can result in some serious hazards – especially when following a big fire year.

Monsoon moisture can lead to flash flooding, which is particularly problematic in areas of burn scars where there's not much left to slow water movement and where plenty of debris exists. Flash flooding in burn scar areas can result in death, as it did this week. It can also result in debris getting washed downstream, meaning possible blockages many miles away. In some cases, it can even turn the water black. Plus, don't forget about the additional mudslide risk that comes with heavy rains, something that has been responsible for shutting down roads around the state in recent weeks.

During this monsoon moisture season, it's crucial to stay up-to-date with the forecast when planning trips into the mountains, as bad weather can result in dangerous conditions and road closures that may impact travel. It's recommended that you check the National Weather Service website for the most up-to-date information.

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Director of Content and Operations

Spencer McKee is OutThere Colorado's Director of Content and Operations. In his spare time, Spencer loves to hike, rock climb, and trail run. He's on a mission to summit all 58 of Colorado's fourteeners and has already climbed more than half.


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