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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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Thursday September 11th 2014 8:25am

Summary:

For the mountains, dry and sunny Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. For the foothills and plains east of the mountains, much colder air will move in Thursday night so expect snow (light accumulations) and below freezing temperatures for the foothills with near freezing temperatures for the plains. Bring in sensitive plants!

Details:

It'll be a tale of two halves on Thursday and Friday as the mountains west of the divide will see sunny and gorgeous weather while the foothills and plains east of the divide will see very cold air, clouds, and likely some snow.

The cold air and snow is being reported in eastern Wyoming as of Thursday morning, and this will move south into Colorado by Thursday late afternoon and evening.

colorado weather

Current weather conditions as of 8am Thursday morning. Red numbers show the temperature while asterisks show snowfall. The map is centered on Wyoming with Colorado at the bottom-right of the image. Source: NCAR/NOAA

Right now as of Thursday morning, clouds are already covering parts of Colorado east of the mountains and north of Denver, and this will likely hang on throughout the day.

By Thursday late afternoon, the cold front will blast south along the front range, hitting Ft. Collins, Denver, and then pushing through Colorado Springs and the southeastern plains by evening. As the front moves through, look for gusty winds from the northeast, a few rain showers, and potentially a few thunderstorms east and south of Colorado Springs.

By the time the sun goes down around 715pm, temperatures will likely be cool enough for snow in the foothills north of Denver and above about 7,000ft. Elsewhere, there could be a few rain showers as temperatures continue to cool through the evening.

By about midnight Thursday night, temperatures should be cool enough over most of Colorado, including the lower plains, to support snow falling from the sky. The best chance for snow will last until about 4am and then most precipitation should end.

Any accumulations should be pretty light (dusting), with two exceptions. First, the foothills and palmer divide above about 6,000ft have the best chance of being cold enough to support accumulating snow. Second, there could be a few bands of heavier snow that stretch from west-to-east across the foothills out to the plains, generally north of Denver. Any locations under these bands could see a quick inch or two of accumulating snow.

 

colorado weather

Snow forecast for Thursday and Friday shows light accumulations in eastern Wyoming and Colorado. Source: NWS

colorado weather

Zoom of the same snow forecast above. Source: NWS

On Friday, the mountains will wake up chilly but under sunny skies while areas east of the mountains will see chilly temperatures and low clouds for at least Friday morning, perhaps lasting through most of the afternoon.

On Saturday, the entire state should be sunny and dry, so enjoy!

For Sunday through next week, most days should be partly to mostly sunny with just a low chance of a quick afternoon shower over the mountains. On Friday there could be a few more showers and another batch of cool air for areas east of the mountains, but that's a long way off and very uncertain.

I hope you're loving the approaching cold front and the chance to see flakes on Thursday night, and are then looking forward to a glorious weekend!

 

JOEL GRATZ

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Wednesday September 10th 2014 8:26am

Summary:

Mountain weather will be mostly dry and tranquil Wednesday through the weekend. Along and east of the divide, expect showers on Wednesday morning, a strong cold front and snowflakes on Thursday night, then a chilly day on Friday with warmer temperatures for the weekend.

Details:

As the rain showers moved across the state on Tuesday night, temperatures cooled enough to produce snow down to about 11,000ft, mostly in the mountains along and north of I-70. Here are a few webcams that showed the snow as as of about 8am Wednesday morning.

colorado weather forecast

Snow fell on many mountains over 11,000ft last night. "RMNP" means "Rocky Mountain National Park". Most of these webcams are positioned around 11,500ft. Source: Mountain Cams / OpenSnow.com

The last of the rain showers are now moving through eastern Colorado on Wednesday morning, while sun breaks out over the western mountains.

colorado weather forecast

Wednesday morning radar. Source: Weathertap.com

In total, this storm dropped anywhere from 0.50 inches up to 3.0 inches. The map below is mostly derived from radar, and since radar doesn't do well in the mountain because the radar beam is sometimes blocked, I have a feeling that some mountain areas picked up more than what the map shows.

colorado weather forecast

Estimated rainfall from the storm. Source: NWS

Wednesday and Thursday will be nice days over the mountains while the plains east of the mountains deal with low clouds on Wednesday and then a nice day on Thursday.

The next big weather story is a strong cold front that will move through Colorado on Thursday evening.

Most mountain locations won't see much of an effect from this front as temperatures will cool a few degrees Thursday night with frost possible in the north, and that's about it.

However, the foothills and plains east of the divide will see temperatures plummet on Thursday evening and a chance for snow and freezing temperatures on Thursday night. Elevations over 6,000ft have the best chance to see accumulating snow and temperatures at or below 32F on Thursday night. For the bigger cities (Denver, Boulder, Ft Collins, etc), expect some snow flakes mixed with rain drops on Thursday night with temperatures hovering around freezing, but likely just above. For a few hours on Thursday night the jet stream will be overhead, and this could produce a few bands of heavier precipitation. This heavier precipitation could cool the air enough to drive snow down to the lower elevations, so watch out (hope!) for this to happen. Overall, this cold front and possible snow shouldn't affect driving around the cities, but the foothills should turn white with at least a dusting!

colorado weather forecast

Forecast low temperatures on Friday morning. It'll be close to freezing over the eastern plains, so bring in your sensitive plants just in case! Source: Weatherbell.com

Saturday and Sunday will be dry for all of Colorado with average-ish temperatures. Most of next week looks dry as well, with just a low chance of an afternoon shower over the mountains around mid week. Overall, after the cold front on Thursday night, it looks like we're in for at least one week of calm, beautiful September weather. Get out to enjoy it!

JOEL GRATZ

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Tuesday September 9th 2014 8:39am

Summary:

One more day of cloudy and rainy weather on Tuesday for the mountains, then Wednesday and Thursday will be much drier. Look for a strong cold front to bring near or below freezing temperatures and a bit of snow to northern and eastern Colorado on Thursday night. Then Friday through the weekend will be sunny with warming temperatures.

Details:

Rain moved through most mountain areas on Monday afternoon and Monday night, and more will cover the area on Tuesday. The whole day won't be a washout, but with lots of clouds and showers around, it won't be a glorious day (unless you like hiking in the rain, in which case, get out there!).

colorado weather forecast

Tuesday morning radar showing plenty of rain over and heading into Colorado. Source: Weathertap.com

 

The last part of the storm will push through the state late Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, and this will be the most likely time that the highest peaks over 12,000ft could see a few inches of snow. If a few heavier showers move through during this time, snow flakes could even get down to 11,000ft for areas along and north of I-70.

On Wednesday, most of the state will return to drier and sunnier weather, with the exception of low clouds hugging the continental divide as well as the foothills and plains east of the divide.

For Thursday, look for a very nice day, with a massive change coming during the evening hours. A strong cold front will hit the Wyoming border by late afternoon and then push south through the evening. The brunt of the cold air will stay along and east of the mountains, though some of this air will filter through northern Colorado, perhaps getting toward I-70. On Thursday night, bring in any plants that you want to live as temperatures will flirt with freezing for many of the lower elevations and will definitely get below freezing in the higher valleys and mountains. There could also be some light drizzle, freezing drizzle, or snow flakes in the eastern foothills and the plains up against the eastern foothills, so keep an eye to the clouds on Thursday night.

colorado weather forecast

Forecast low temperatures on Friday morning. Source: Weatherbell.com

Friday will be chilly and cloudy east of the divide but sunny and glorious elsewhere. Temperatures will warm on Saturday and Sunday with likely no chance of rain either day, so enjoy the perfect fall weather.

Looking ahead to next week, I don't see much weather action except for perhaps a few showers and a bit cooler air near the middle or end of the week.

JOEL GRATZ

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Monday September 8th 2014 7:46am

Summary:

On Monday and Tuesday, clouds and frequent rain showers will cover the mountains, then a cold front will hit the front range on Thursday with very chilly temperatures for Friday morning. Snow will accumulate on some peaks on Tuesday night, and flakes could also fall in the eastern foothills on Thursday night.

Details:

The moisture surge is working its way into Colorado this morning with rain showers showing up on radar over our mountains and extending back to Utah, Nevada, California, and especially Arizona.

colorado weather

Monday morning radar. Source: Weathertap.com

The most likely time for heavier and steadier rain in the mountains will be from Monday night through Wednesday morning when we could measure about 1-3 inches of rain. There might be a few flakes of high-elevation snow (above 13,000ft) on Monday and Tuesday, but the best chance of mountain snow will be on Tuesday night above about 11,000ft. Wednesday will be a much drier day, but clouds could hug the peaks of the central and northern mountains with some leftover showers.

colorado weather

The American GFS model is predicting a few inches of rain for most mountain areas. Don't focus on the points of heavier rain -- this isn't necessarily accurate and is a reflection of the model's lower resolution. Source: Weatherbell.com

For Thursday and Friday, the weather in the mountains will be rather tranquil while the action shifts to the east of the mountains. A strong cold front will push in from the north on Thursday which will drop temperatures into the 30s on Thursday night through Friday morning.

It is possible that the foothills east of the divide and some higher-elevations of the plains could see some snow flakes on Thursday night. It's also possible that some locations on the plains drop to close to freezing on Thursday night, with a good chance of this happening above about 6,000ft. This forecast is colder than previous forecasts as the models have been trending a bit chillier, and they also tend to underestimate the strength of the cold air.

colorado weather

Temperature difference from average on Friday morning. The average low temperature in Denver is about 50 degrees, and actual readings could be closer to 35 degrees. Source: Weatherbell.com

By midday Friday, clouds will clear east of the mountains and the whole state should see a dry and sunny day. Saturday should also be dry and sunny for the entire state. Then mountain showers could return for Sunday and Monday, but I have low confidence in the forecast after Saturday.

JOEL GRATZ

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