Aspen enjoys warm, dry fall |

Aspen enjoys warm, dry fall

Aspen Times staff report
Aspen, CO Colorado
Janet Urquhart/The Aspen TimesA stand of aspens in the lower Castle Creek Valley, south of Aspen, still hold their color in the final, warm days of September.

ASPEN – Locals and visitors have enjoyed an unusually warm and dry September in Aspen.

The memorable autumn has been marked by blue skies and an extended display of vibrant fall colors, unmarred by strong winds, heavy rains or snow that can strip the aspens of their leaves prematurely.

And, though the leaf-peeping prime has passed, the cottonwoods and some aspens continue to offer glimpses of gold around town. Independence Pass boasted plenty of color yet last weekend.

According to preliminary data for the month of September, logged at the Aspen Water Department, Aspen saw scant precipitation on just five days during the entire month, and no snow fell in town. Area peaks were dusted with snow a couple of times in September, though.

The water plant recorded 0.71 inches of rainfall in September, below the average of 1.8 inches for the month. The average high temperature was about 72 degrees, and the average low hovered at a relatively temperate 40 degrees or so. The high for the month was 80.7 degrees, recorded on Sept. 20.

Last year, 1.42 inches of rain, and a trace of snowfall, were recorded at the water plant in September.

This year’s dry conditions prompted a warning last week that the Roaring Fork Valley is vulnerable to fires.

Basalt Fire Chief Scott Thompson cautioned area residents that the fire potential in most areas of the valley is extreme.

Summit County has issued a fire ban, and on Monday crews were battling a wildfire in Grand County, in central Colorado. A U.S. Forest Service official said managers believed the blaze, northwest of Fraser, was human-caused.

This week’s forecast brings a chance of rain to Aspen. Today’s forecast calls for a 30 percent chance of precipitation. Thunderstorms are likely Wednesday and Wednesday night, according to the National Weather Service. Thursday’s forecast calls for a chance of rain showers before clear skies return on Friday, the weather service said.

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