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Denver is really outdoing itself this summer—and we’re not referring to the spectacular wildflower displays or the slew of seasonal social activities. The Mile High City has been smashing weather records left and right since summer began, starting with historic rainfall and now, soaring temperatures.
Record-setting heat scorched Denver on Monday as a strong ridge of high pressure took hold, breaking the daily record with a blistering 99-degree day, according to the National Weather Service (NWS) Boulder office. But don’t start jury-rigging the swamp coolers just yet. The rest of August is forecast to be fairly tame, with highs hanging around 90. We hate to break it to you, but that’s pretty standard for a Colorado summer.
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In fact, if you look back at the last three months, temperatures are running less than a half degree below the average for this time of year. Denverites are typically subject to 31 days of 90-degree heat or more, per the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Regional Climate Center. This year, we’ve only clocked 25.
We haven’t had to endure any triple-digit days (well, maybe just a couple, depending on where in the metro area you call home), and the likelihood of it creeping above the century mark is only decreasing. If we end the summer with no days above 100 degrees in Denver proper, it’ll be the first time since 2015—and the coolest summer since 2009. The average daily temperature this summer? A measly 70.2 degrees, according to the NOAA Regional Climate Center.
The spring and early summer rains are partially to thank for our lack of long-lasting, intense heat. Since there is so much moisture in the ground, there’s more water available to evaporate, which helps keep temps mild. But all of this extra moisture might also be why it feels hotter than it actually is. Queue every dad’s favorite saying: It’s not the heat that gets you, it’s the humidity.
But although this humidity may have you contemplating a new hairstyle, it’s helped keep our wildfires in check. The NWS issues red-flag warnings when conditions are ripe for wildfires: low humidity, strong winds, and high temps. In Boulder this year, the NWS issued 12 fewer such days than last year. Firefighters tackling the Lowline Fire in Gunnison County, which lightning sparked on July 26, say the high humidity helped suppress the spread. As of today, Gunnison County Emergency Management reports that burn is 55 percent contained, and with cooler temperatures and some soggy days on the horizon, we could see those flames squashed for good.
We’ve still got at least several weeks of 90-degree heat ahead of us, so you might as well embrace this Wet Hot American Summer we’re having. Now would be a great time to try that tubing spot you’ve heard so much about or relax by one of Denver’s rooftop pools. And if all else fails, start a countdown to October 18—Denver’s average first day of snow.