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Friday August 29th 2014 8:53am


Friday and Saturday will be much drier than the past few days, but there will still be a few afternoon storms each day over the mountains from Aspen north to Wyoming. On Sunday, look for a line of showers and storms to hit the mountains along and north of I-70 between mid morning and mid afternoon (it might be cool enough for flakes to fall instead of rain drops near Steamboat and Rocky Mountain National Park). Monday will still offer a chance of an afternoon storm in northern Colorado, but otherwise the rest of the state will be dry Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. The next moisture surge will bring a few showers on Thursday, then more numerous showers on Friday 9/5 through Sunday 9/7.


The storm that brought us clouds and rain during the week is finally east of us and has pulled much of the moisture away from Colorado. However, clouds are still hanging around the high peaks this morning, including at Longs Peak where a bit of snow is still showing from yesterday's midday showers.

longs peak snow webcam

Look ... snow! Source: NPS Webcam

Even though there is far less moisture over Colorado today than during the last few days, we still have enough to trigger a few afternoon showers and storms across the northern half of Colorado on Friday and Saturday. If you're heading out for a hike, don't change your plans due to this forecast as there won't be many storms, but do pay attention and descend from higher, exposed terrain if you see one of these storms popping up to your west or northwest.

The next interesting weather feature will be a cold front and line of storms that will hit Colorado on Sunday. Most models are consistently showing that the precipitation will stay north of Aspen, and mostly north of I-70. I can't pin down the timing of the storms, but it looks like between late morning and mid afternoon on Sunday. Temperatures will be cool enough for snow flakes to fall above about 11,000ft as the storms roll through, so bring the right gear if you're backpacking in the northern mountains on Sunday, and don't be surprised to see precipitation early on Sunday, much earlier than a with more typical mid-afternoon showers and storms.


colorado weather

Forecast radar on Sunday mid-morning from the high resolution 4km NAM model. Source:

By Sunday night, all of Colorado will be dry. Then there will be dry weather on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday with no risk of afternoon storms, with the exception of a few weak showers over northern Colorado on Monday. Get out and enjoy, especially during the holiday on Monday for southern and central Colorado.

Later next week, starting around Thursday-ish, moisture will return to Colorado from a tropical system over Mexico. We'll see a few showers on Thursday, more showers Friday, and likely a lot of showers next Saturday 9/5 and Sunday 9/6. That's fine by me as I'll never be sad about precipitation falling in our arid state.

Have a fantastic holiday weekend! I'll have spotty internet through Monday, so will try to post but can't guarantee it.


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Thursday August 28th 2014 7:58am


Today will be the last day of showers from this week's slow-moving storm. Friday and Saturday will be generally dry, then a cold front will create a brief time of showers and storms on Sunday afternoon for I-70 and north. Next Monday through Friday will be dry and warmer, then rain showers should return starting on Saturday 9/6.


This week's storm is moving slower than most cyclists in Colorado! Since Monday it has averaged 10-15mph as it slowly pushes east, and this is why we've seen clouds, cool temperatures, and numerous rain and snow showers lasting for the past three days.

As of Thursday morning, the storm is centered over the Colorado / Wyoming / Nebraska border and will give us another 12-18 hours of showers and storms. The blue and grey colors show moisture, while the black and tan colors to our west show drier air. The drier air will take over the skies of Colorado on Friday.

storm colorado

Water vapor satellite image on Thursday morning showing moist air continuing to swirl into Colorado. Source:

On Thursday, look for midday and afternoon rain showers (with snow accumulating above 13,000ft).

Then on Friday, skies will clear and the day will be much sunnier and drier, with just a low chance of a few weak, late afternoon showers.

Saturday should be dry for all of the state, then a storm to our north will make Sunday breezy with the likelihood of a brief but intense line of showers and storms hitting on Sunday afternoon for the areas along and north of I-70. Keep this in mind if you're hiking or playing outside on Sunday afternoon in northern Colorado.

After the Sunday afternoon storms roll out, next Monday through Friday looks dry and sunny, pretty typical of early September. Temperatures will start the week just below or around normal, then will go above normal on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, especially east of the mountains where readings could be in the upper 80s by late in the week.

The next time of interesting weather in Colorado will start on Saturday 9/6 as a surge of moisture from the south moves into the state. We'll likely see rain showers during that weekend (September 6-7), possibly extending into Monday the 8th as well.

Looking back over August, most of the western mountains recorded above average precipitation, with only eastern Colorado and New Mexico coming in at or below average. Unfortunately, this moisture didn't help the long-term drought in California, but it was nice to see their mountains get at least some rain!

rain average precipitation

August precipitation compared to average. Source: USDA


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Wednesday August 27th 2014 8:29am


Cloudy skies with rain showers will continue on Wednesday, Wednesday night, and Thursday with snow possible over 13,000ft. Friday and Saturday will be sunnier and mostly dry, then the next storm will quickly push a band of rain and thunderstorms through northern Colorado on Sunday afternoon.


We're still dealing with the storm that is cut-off from the main flow of weather. In fact, the center of the storm isn't yet into Colorado, and this won't happen later today. We started talking about it when it was over Oregon on Monday, and it's moved about 700 miles since then (48 hours), which means it's moving around 15mph. This is roughly half the speed of a "normal" storm that is pushed along by the jet stream.

As of Wednesday morning, the storm is swirling over Utah with waves of energy pushing through Colorado. One of these waves is moving through eastern Colorado (bright blue colors) while another one is just about to push into western Colorado.

water vapor satellite

Wednesday morning water vapor satellite image. Source:

Over the last 24 hours, most locations have seen at least 0.25 inches of rain, with a few spots reporting between 0.50 and 1.00 inch.

rain in colorado

Rainfall amounts from Tuesday AM through Wednesday AM. Source:

More rain will fall today on Wednesday as the next wave of showers and storms enter western Colorado. 

colorado radar

Wednesday morning radar. Source:

It will take this storm another two days to fully move through Colorado. I grabbed this animated gif (maybe I'll show one everyday this winter; it works for Buzzfeed!) showing the forecast for the storm's moisture and wind starting on Wednesday morning and continuing through Friday morning. Notice how it swirls through Colorado very slowly, then finally moves east of the state by the final image. 

storm in colorado

Forecast moisture and winds at around 18,000ft from the American GFS model. Source:

While the storm is over our state through Thursday, expect temperatures cool enough to support snow over 13,000ft (the highest mountain peaks go to about 14,000ft while most of the ski resorts top out between 11,000ft-12,000ft). The coldest temperatures I found this morning were in the mid to upper 30s around 12k, so a snow level between 13-14k seems about right.

On Friday and Saturday, the weather will improve with mostly sunny skies to start each day and then a few clouds dotting the peaks by afternoon. I doubt we'll see any significant showers either day, though there could be some drops over the northern mountains.

Then a quick-moving storm will push through Wyoming on Sunday, and it will send energy into northern Colorado as well. Look for gusty winds on Sunday with a line of showers and storms on Sunday afternoon and evening.

Once that precipitation moves out, Monday through Friday of next week should be mostly dry with average temperatures in the mountains and perhaps a bit cooler-than-average temperatures east of the mountains.

The next storm will likely affect us around Saturday September 6th - ish. There could be a tropical system somewhere close to Mexico during this time, and it might send moisture north into Colorado which would set the stage for another day or two of clouds and numerous rain showers during the first full weekend of September.

storm next weekend

Surface forecast with red showing above average moisture. Source:

Enjoy the fall-like cool weather today, and thanks for reading!


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Tuesday August 26th 2014 9:08am


Tuesday afternoon through Thursday morning will be cool and cloudy, with lots of rain showers over most mountains. Snow should accumulate on the higher peaks above 13,000ft, especially Wednesday afternoon through Thursday morning. The skies will clear by Friday afternoon, and Saturday and Sunday should be dry and sunny. The next storm will bring wind and rain showers to areas along and north of I-70 on Monday September 1st.


It's a cloudy start to Tuesday for most of Colorado as the cut-off storm I talked about yesterday is getting closer and closer.

While a few rain showers are already falling this morning, the showers will become far more numerous on Tuesday afternoon, Tuesday night, and last through Wednesday morning. These showers are brought to you by the approaching storm from the west combined with moisture streaming into Colorado from the Pacific Ocean to the southwest.

Below is an animated gif (everyone's doing it!) showing the short-term, high resolution HRRR model's forecast radar from Tuesday 7am through Tuesday 9pm. You can see how the showers are forecast to "explode" late in the day and overnight.

rain showers over Colorado HRRR model

High Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) model forecast of how the radar will look on Tuesday afternoon. Source:

Temperatures are cool for this time of year, and this means that snow will once again accumulate on peaks over 13,000ft (this also happened a few days ago on Saturday). I don't expect deep accumulations, but some of the heavier showers might put down a few inches, perhaps up to 6 inches if we're lucky. While the NWS forecast map below only goes through Wednesday evening, I think we'll see the chance for snow continue through Thursday morning along the higher peaks of the continental divide along and north of I-70.

colorado snow over higher peaks

Snow is in the forecast for mountains over 13,000ft. Source: NWS

We'll continue to see a few showers and clouds around on Thursday and Thursday night, then Friday should be a nicer day though I can't rule out a shower or two as the slow-moving storm will hang around eastern Colorado.

Saturday and Sunday should be great days to enjoy the outdoors for the long weekend, then a storm to our north with clip northern Colorado sometime between Sunday night and Monday night. Expect gusty winds and afternoon showers.

storm hits northern colorado on Monday

Gettin' clipped on Labor Day. Temperatures in Celsius at 18,000ft. Source:

The first full week of September looks like we'll see average to below average temperatures ... perfect for getting in the mood for ski season!


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Monday August 25th 2014 8:36am


A slow-moving storm will bring clouds, rain, cool temperatures and high-elevation snow to Colorado this week. The wettest / coolest time will be from Tuesday evening through midday Thursday. Light snow accumulations will be possible over 13,000ft. The storm will move away by Friday night, then Saturday, Sunday, and Monday should be dry with average temperatures.


Late August and early September are usually pretty dry over Colorado. I remember moving to the state on August 15, 2003 and the weather was nearly perfect (blue skies, comfy temps) for the first month I was here.

However, the next week will not be typical as we'll see cool, cloudy, rainy, and perhaps even a bit of snowy weather.

On Monday morning, the water vapor satellite image below shows two interesting features.

First, there is a storm swirling over southern Oregon that is "cut-off" from the main west-to-east flow of weather. These cut-off storms move very slowly because they are removed from the faster winds of the jet stream to the north. The cut-off storm will slowly head toward Colorado on Monday, and then will be close to or over the state from Tuesday afternoon through Friday afternoon.

The second thing of note on the satellite image is the grey and blue colors moving from the Pacific Ocean, over southern California and Arizona, and into Colorado. These colors show medium to high amounts of moisture in the atmosphere, and when this moisture combines with the cut-off storm, Colorado will see lots of clouds and showers during the upcoming week.

water vapor satellite image colorado


As the cut-off storm approaches Colorado, expect showers over the eastern mountains on Monday afternoon, a break on Monday night, then a push of stronger showers and storms from midday Tuesday through Tuesday night. Rain showers will likely stick around for Wednesday and Thursday as well, with the chance for higher accumulations of rain on Wednesday and Thursday because the showers will move more slowly.

As for temperatures, the coldest air will settle over the state from late Tuesday night through Thursday morning, with readings cold enough for snow over about 13,000ft, and perhaps a bit lower. The forecast location of the coldest temperatures on Wednesday illustrate that the center of the cut-off storm will be over western Colorado, with a counter clock-wise flow of wind around the system.

cool temperatures over colorado

The main point of showing the temperature map is to notice how the circle of cold air (the storm) is cut-off from the main area of cold air to the north over Canada. The map is in Celsius, so -10C equals about 14F, and this is at 18,000ft. Source:

What does all of this mean for precipitation amounts?

Most models predict about a half an inch to an inch of rain for many areas. This won't be steady precipitation, so as usual in the summer months, some areas could see 2-3 inches while others see nothing at all.

Many mountains over 13,000ft should see a nice coating of snow with any showers from late Tuesday night through Thursday, so when the clouds give you a view, hopefully you'll see some snow-capped peaks:-)

steady precipitation for Colorado

Colorado will be one of the wetter places in the country during the upcoming week. Source:

Then after a wet week, the all important Labor Day weekend forecast looks pretty good. 

After a few remaining showers on Friday, our cut-off storm will finally move out of the state and we'll be left with perfect weather on Saturday, and most likely dry weather for Sunday and Monday as well.

We could see gusty winds and cooler temperatures on Sunday and Monday, especially for areas north of I-70 and east of the divide, but this all depends on the location of a storm that will cross Wyoming and Montana late in the weekend, so let's first focus on this week's cut-off storm and then I'll try to tighten up the weekend forecast in another few days.


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