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Daily Snow from Colorado   RSS

Sunday August 31st 2014 10:22am

Summary:

Showers are moving through northern Colorado on this Sunday morning, but activity should wind down late this afternoon. Then Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday will be dry with a few showers returning on Thursday and more numerous showers on Friday and Saturday.

Details:

A few showers moved through central and northern Colorado on Saturday, though it was far from a washout.

Today, Sunday, is the last day of good moisture streaming into the state from the west. As the jet stream moves overhead this morning, showers are covering the mountains from about Aspen north to I-70 north to Wyoming. Temperatures are generally too warm for snow, but further north at Grand Targhee, Wyoming that's not the case.

colorado weather radar

Sunday morning radar image showing showers over northern Colorado. Source: Weathertap.com

By Sunday afternoon, many of the rain showers over northern Colorado will dissipate. This is opposite of what usually happens in the summer, when the morning is dry and the afternoon and rainy. That occurs when the showers are fueled by the sun heating the ground. In contrast, today's rain showers are fueled by the jet stream moving over the state at 30,000ft, and the jet stream's energy acts independently of the daily rise and fall of the sun.

Then on Monday most of the state will be dry and sunny to close out the three-day weekend, though if you're along and north of I-70 and near the continental divide, don't be surprised to see a shower during the late morning or midday hours as one last wave of energy moves through the area. Most of the moisture will be gone though, so there won't be much fuel to support the formation of these showers.

Tuesday and Wednesday will be completely dry over the state, so get out and enjoy!

On Thursday, a push of moisture from the south will head into Colorado. This moisture will come from a tropical system near Mexico, so there will be plenty of fuel to get the showers going. Thursday will only offer a few showers, while Friday and Saturday could be much wetter.

The long-range outlooks points toward drier weather on Sunday 9/7 and Monday 9/8, then another storm will move toward Colorado from the northwest during the middle of the second week of September.

Have a great Labor Day holiday! My next post will be on Tuesday...

JOEL GRATZ

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Saturday August 30th 2014 7:59am

Friday was a stormier than I thought it would be over northern Colorado. There was more low-level moisture to feed the storms, likely as a result of the rain that fell the day before on Thursday.

The trend of "more moisture than the models think" will likely continue for northern Colorado on Saturday and Sunday. While the weather will be pretty nice both days, there will be afternoon showers for areas along and north of I-70.

Then the last round of showers will push through northern Colorado on Monday while the rest of the state is dry.

Tuesday and Wednesday will be dry everywhere, then a few showers will pop up on Thursday in southern Colorado, with more showers for the entire state Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Enjoy part one of the three-day weekend!

JOEL GRATZ

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Friday August 29th 2014 8:53am

Summary:

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.

Details:

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: Weatherbell.com

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.

JOEL GRATZ

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Thursday August 28th 2014 7:58am

Summary:

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.

Details:

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: Weathertap.com

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

JOEL GRATZ

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Wednesday August 27th 2014 8:29am

Summary:

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.

Details:

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: Weathertap.com

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: CoCoRahs.org

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

colorado radar

Wednesday morning radar. Source: Weathertap.com

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: Twisterdata.com

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: Weatherbell.com

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

JOEL GRATZ

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