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Tuesday September 16th 2014 6:54am

Summary:

Mostly dry on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday with a few afternoon showers over the San Juan mountains. The best chance of rain showers will occur between Thursday night and Friday night. Next weekend's weather is still tough to call, but I think it'll be on the drier side for most mountain areas in central and northern Colorado.

Details:

A few afternoon showers popped up over many of the mountains on Monday, but on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday the majority of these showers should be confined to the southern mountains, generally south of US50 over the San Juans and Sangre de Cristo ranges.

Our tranquil weather pattern will break down on Thursday night as the remnants of Hurricane Odile move toward Colorado from the south while another storm splits into two parts to our west, with one part heading for Colorado.

Between Thursday night and Friday night, look for cloudier weather with a good chance of rain showers and a few Thunderstorms.

During this time, the remnants of Odile will bring heavy rain to northern New Mexico and *maybe* to southern and southeastern Colorado, roughly from US160 south. There will be a limited path of heavier rain, and right now I'm not sure if this stays south in New Mexico or reaches up to southern Colorado.

Also on Thursday night through Friday night, part of the splitting storm to our west will move across northern and central Colorado, bringing an increase in showers and storms for most mountain and valley areas. This won't be an all-day soaking rain, but it will be a wetter day than Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.

colorado weather forecast

Basemap shows the Tuesday morning Water Vapor satellite image. Source: Weathertap.com

The big question is what will happen to the second half of the splitting storm to our west after Friday?

On the map above I show it heading south toward the southern coast of California. Since these splitting storms usually move very slowly, I'll side with the European model's prediction that it will stay over southern California through the weekend and won't move toward Colorado until Tuesday of next week. This is about 1-2 days slower than the American GFS model's forecast.

Siding with the European makes our weekend look mostly dry over the northern 2/3rds of the mountains, with just a few showers over the San Juans and some cooler, perhaps cloudier weather over the eastern plains. In short, the European model says it'll be a nice weekend to look at the early fall color in the northern half of Colorado, while the American GFS model says it'll be wet for a lot of the weekend. Again, I'll side with the Euro since splitting storms usually move very slowly.

Lastly ... a quick look at the long-range forecast shows the possibility of a cooler system affecting northern Colorado and areas east of the divide during the last 3-5 days of September. I'll keep ya posted ... don't put too much confidence in 10 day forecasts:-)

JOEL GRATZ

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Monday September 15th 2014 9:21am

Summary:

Mostly sunny and warm on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday with a low chance for a few mountain showers each afternoon. More numerous rain showers are likely on Friday, then the weekend might be drier but I have little confidence in the forecast beyond 4 days.

Details:

Yesterday, Sunday, was typical of a late-summer day with a few showers over the mountains but little rain reaching the ground due to pretty dry air at the surface. On Sunday night, a cold front brought cooler air to the plains east of the divide, but the low clouds are confined to the farmland well east of I-25 and did not push further west into the urban areas and against the foothills.

Monday through Thursday will be similar to Sunday with enough moisture over the mountains to form afternoon clouds and a few showers, but still dry enough at the surface that the storms will produce more wind than rain. Temperatures will be a few degrees above normal each day.

Things change on Friday, though, as the combination of the remnants of Hurricane Odile and a weak storm along the west coast will push moisture into Colorado. Look for lots of showers and a few thunderstorms between Thursday night and Friday night, mostly over the mountains but perhaps affecting the eastern plains as well.

colorado weather forecast

Both storms will pull moisture into Colorado on Friday. Source: Weatherbell.com

After Friday, I have little confidence in the forecast for the weekend and into early next week.

The remnants of Hurricane Odile will be gone to our east, however the storm to our west that is cut-off from the main west-to-east flow of weather will meander about. These cut-off storms usually move more slowly and erratically than the models forecast, so it could stay near us through the weekend and into early next week. If it moves a bit closer to Colorado, we could see showers each day of the weekend through next Tuesday. If it stays just a bit further away, we'll see a drier weekend. At this point, I have no clue about the details and feel that I cannot give the "all clear" for the weekend because this storm will be too close for comfort. Stay tuned...

JOEL GRATZ

PS - For folks in the Denver area, check out the "First Frost" event on Friday, November 7th. It's a gathering to benefit CAIC and there's also a photo contest for those of you who do a great job of capturing images that define skiing and riding in Colorado. More information here.

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Sunday September 14th 2014 11:05am

Summary:

Sunday through Thursday will be mostly dry with a low chance for an afternoon shower over the mountains. We'll see a better chance for rain showers on Friday, with dry weather likely returning for next weekend. I do not see any strong cold fronts or widespread snow for at least the next 10 days.

Details:

Saturday was a beautiful day across the state without many weather issues. There were a few rain showers over the eastern San Juan mountains in southwest Colorado, and the northern mountains along the front range saw some gusty winds up to 30-40mph, but that's relatively standard for fall, winter, and spring for this area. I was up on Rosalie Peak near Mt Evans and verified that it was a bit gusty at 13,500ft with winds around 30mph.

This morning on Sunday, the visible satellite image shows a few things worth mentioning though none of them are a big deal. The wave clouds over northern Colorado show that there are still some strong winds over that part of the state with turbulence likely for planes flying over the area.

colorado weather forecast

Source: Weathertap.com

For Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, look for mostly dry weather, plenty of sun, temperatures at or above normal, and just a low chance of an afternoon shower over the mountains with the best chance for these showers to form over the San Juan mountains as there will be a bit more moisture in southern Colorado. The only other weather action this week will be a weak cold front that will hit the front range east of the mountains on Sunday night into Monday morning. Look for a bit cooler temperatures (60s) on Monday with some low clouds to start the day, maybe lasting through afternoon.

On Friday, a surge of moisture and a weak storm will likely move across Colorado, increasing the likelihood for showers and storms for both the mountains and the eastern plains. Temperatures will likely stay warm enough on Friday to keep any snow confined to the highest peaks above 13,000ft. 

At this point, I think next weekend will turn out to be dry which will be perfect for viewing the fall colors across northern Colorado. However, there's still some ambiguity in the models around how next Friday's storm will play out and how fast it will move, so stay tuned as I likely won't be able to give the "all clear" for next weekend until Tuesday of this week.

JOEL GRATZ

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Friday September 12th 2014 10:51pm

Summary:

Saturday will be sunny and fantastic with just a light afternoon shower over the San Juan and Sangre de Cristo mountains. Sunday will be similar, with scattered light afternoon showers over any mountain range.

I'll write a longer post on Sunday, but I'm going to be up early on Saturday morning for a hike (Rosalie Peak, near Mt Evans), so wanted to write a quickie post before going to bed Friday night.

Have a great first half of the weekend!

JOEL GRATZ

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Friday September 12th 2014 9:04am

Summary:

For the mountains, Friday will be dry and sunny. For the foothills and plains east of the mountains, low clouds with drizzle and flurries will cover the area in the morning then the sun will return by late in the day. Saturday through next Thursday will be generally dry and sunny with a weak shower possible each day over the mountains. Then there is a high chance for rain showers next Friday the 19th.

Details:

Yup, it snowed in the eastern Colorado foothills and plains last night! The highest accumulations I could find were about 1/2 to 1 inch, mostly around 8,000-9,000 feet from I-70 north to the Wyoming border, and it did snow in the foothills south of I-70 as well. On the plains, temperatures hovered around 32-35F with just a few flakes mixed in (like this morning here in Boulder), while areas above 6,000ft dropped below freezing as the base of Eldora around 9,000ft reported a temperature in the low 20s.

In contrast, the mountains west of the divide are sunny and dry this morning with low clouds and fog lingering along and just west of the divide in places like Summit County.

Here's how this contrast looks via webcam:

colorado weather

Webcam images as of 8am on Friday 9/12/2014. Ward is about 15 miles west of Boulder at 9,000ft and Mt Evans is about 30 miles west of Denver at 14,000ft. The Mt Evans webcam is looking east toward Denver. Source: CDOT & Mt Evans Observatory

colorado weather

Most locations that reported measurable snow were above 6,000ft in elevation, in the eastern foothills and also on the higher terrain south of Denver and north of Colorado Springs. Source: CoCoRahs

Unfortunately, the weather action that we have today will be about it for the coming week as we transition to a relaxed atmosphere associated with an area of high pressure that will form over the southwest US.

For the rest of Friday, clouds will slowly (slowly!) erode over the eastern foothills and plains, but temperatures will remain cool, in the 40s and 50s. The mountains will be glorious with sunny skies.

On Saturday, the entire state will be dry and sunny.

For Sunday through Thursday, most areas will be dry and sunny all day, with just a few weak showers popping up over the mountains each afternoon. Also, there could be low clouds east of the mountains on Monday morning associated with a weak cold front. Other than that, the weather will be mundane.

The next stronger weather system should move across Colorado on Friday the 19th with a better chance for rain showers for most areas of the mountains and plains. Then after that, next weekend (20-21st) looks pretty good with dry weather.

Just imagine if this cycle were to continue into the winter ... storm/powder days on Friday, forcing you to take a 3-day weekend for multiple weeks in a row. I can think of worse things:-)

JOEL GRATZ

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