On Tuesday morning, downtown Durango was ready for its closeup: At last, Main Avenue’s sun-drenched sidewalks were clogged with happy tourists.
As families paused in the streets to admire the surrounding mountains at lunchtime outside the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad depot, it seemed nothing – not even jaywalking laws – could stymie visitors’ appreciation for being outdoors in Durango.
Then came the rain.
Within 180 seconds, Main Avenue suddenly reverted to a sodden wasteland, as tourists and locals alike fled for cover as water bombed the streets from on high, some of it frozen, for forty minutes.
Megan Stackhouse, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction, said Durango should get used to it.
“We’re seeing widespread showers and thunderstorms across the area all week. It’s a really wet weather pattern that we’ve got going on,” she said.
In fact, Durango, already drenched from Monday’s storms, should expect to be inundated daily through Saturday, Stackhouse said.
“We’ve had reports of hail falling that’s three-tenths of an inch in diameter. And this summer, Durango is experiencing temperatures that are much lower than is usual for this time of year,” she said, citing Tuesday’s low of 49 degrees.
Stackhouse said temperatures are unlikely to climb past 70 degrees in the coming days.
She said a confluence of factors – including a storm off California’s coast means Durango is unlikely to dry out soon.
“Nothing is inhibiting storms from forming,” Stackhouse said, saying there’s little wind to blow them away and a lot of moisture in the air already.
Storms will be especially heavy in the afternoons, though “some will linger through the night,” Stackhouse said.
The forecast means Durango residents should expect no relief from rain after sunset.
But the constant succession of burgeoning thunderstorms promises to liberate residents from sunscreen for unusually large parts of the day at this time of year.
According to the National Weather Service, the sun was scheduled to set at 8:34 p.m. in Durango on Tuesday night.
Yet at 5 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, a mass of dense, dark clouds – all seemingly swollen with water – made it seem as though nightfall had already descended, enveloping the city in an unseasonable darkness.
Tourists and locals might want to invest in umbrellas, flashlights and galoshes.
“There’s a chance that the storms will clear up over the weekend. But, then again, we’re still expecting clouds and storms to develop in the higher elevations around Durango – and they could come into the valley,” Stackhouse said.
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