Warmer and Drier Weather For the Week Ahead
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Author:  wxgeek [ Feb 25, 2018 5:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Warmer and Drier Weather For the Week Ahead

Today should be the last day in the foothills that temps stay below freezing. The week ahead will feature temps returning to average values, and precip should stay mostly out of CO through Saturday. To begin the week, upper level trough will dig down the West Coast and leave CO with a dry southwest flow aloft Monday and Tuesday as temps return to seasonal normal values. The upper trough will pass to our south on Wednesday and bring some light precip to the southwest and south central mountains, but most areas north of US 50 should remain dry, only a slight chance for any light precip Wednesday afternoon in our foothills with snow level near 4000 ft. Temps will remain near average on Wednesday.

A deep upper level trough will move into the Pacific Northwest later this week, as CO will remain under a dry southwest flow aloft Thursday and Friday. Temps may rise slightly above average Thursday and Friday as some gusty southwest winds may be present in the mountains and foothills. By Saturday, upper trough moves over the northern Rockies leaving a brisk westerly flow aloft over CO, so dry weather continues on Saturday and temps should be above average. Precip may move into western CO Saturday night into Sunday morning with snow level near 4000 ft. Only a slight chance foothill areas will see any snow on Sunday with no accumulation expected. Mountains could see several inches Saturday night into Sunday morning.

The following week upper level ridge moves over the Great Basin which should leave CO dry with temps above average for early March. From the CPC, our La Nina has reached moderate strength with a 3 month ONI of -1.0. More importantly, the positive phase of the MJO that brought the upper level trough to the western U.S. the past few weeks is waning, and a negative phase will return for much of March. The implication of this is that March could be drier and warmer than average with the negative MJO phase. Given March is one of our snowier months (April is the snowiest), this could spell bad news for drought conditions and signal an early start to our fire season. Hopefully a positive MJO phase returns in April and we get some high moisture snow.

Author:  wxgeek [ Feb 26, 2018 3:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Warmer and Drier Weather For the Week Ahead

As promised temps have risen above average today across most of the state, along with some gusty southwest winds which have prompted Red Flag Warning across portions of southeast and south central CO. Pretty similar day on tap for Tuesday, as temps will remain above average and gusty southwest winds will be prevalent in the mountains and foothills.

Slight change on Wednesday as upper level trough passes to our south which may lead to some showers across southwest and south central CO and slightly cooler temps closer to average values. Southwest and south central mountains may see a few inches of snow, but not much expected elsewhere outside of some increased clouds.

Warmer and dry conditions return Thursday and Friday along with more gusty southwest winds which will increase fire danger in areas absent snow. Temps will rise above seasonal norms both days.

For the weekend, GFS and ECMWF have differing ideas. Large upper trough that moves into the Pacific Northwest late this week will move eastward this weekend. GFS brings precip into western CO as early as Saturday, while ECMWF holds precip off until Sunday morning. As usual I prefer the ECMWF solution for now, so will say Saturday remains dry and mild statewide, then precip moves into western CO Saturday night into Sunday morning with snow level 4000-5000 ft and then moves into eastern CO Sunday afternoon into Sunday night with snow level down to 4000 ft. Currently only looks like a few inches of snow for our foothills and plains, with several inches possible in the mountains with cooler temps on Sunday.

For next week, temps look to remain below average early in the week, but conditions should remain mostly dry outside of a few mountain flurries. Temps should rise back to or above average late next week as conditions remain dry statewide. Models suggest a chance for precip next weekend, but too far out to get hopes up for additional moisture.

Author:  wxgeek [ Feb 27, 2018 2:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Warmer and Drier Weather For the Week Ahead

Warm an breezy day across most of CO as southwest flow aloft crating southwest surface winds of 20-40 mph. Winds combined with low RH values and warm temps has Red Flag Warnings across much of southeast CO today.

Wednesday will see cooler temps and more clouds as upper level trough passes over the state. Some precip will move into southwest CO overnight and spread east along and south of I-70 during the day on Wednesday. Mountain areas may see 1-4 inches of snow above 6000 ft, with up to 8 inches over the San Juan mountains. Foothills may see some very light snow Wednesday afternoon/evening, but not much more than a dusting is currently expected with snow level near 5000 ft Wednesday.

Thursday we see a return to dry and mild weather and gusty southwest winds, so fire danger will once again be on the rise in areas absent snow. Temps should rise above average Thursday statewide. By Friday into Saturday, temps will be 5-15 degrees above average along with continued gusty southwest winds and low RH values thus high fire danger for much of eastern CO.

Models coming into better agreement on Sunday, with precip moving into western Co Sunday morning, and spreading east with associated cold front into eastern CO by Sunday late afternoon/evening with snow level lowering down to 4000 ft as precip extends through about midnight then moves east. At this time snow amounts look to remain light east of the Divide, with less than 2 inches for local foothills areas, but 4-8 inches possible in the mountains.

For next week, models suggest dry and cool conditions Monday and Tuesday statewide. GFS keeps things dry and mild Wednesday into Friday, while the ECMWF brings a chance for precip across CO late Thursday into Friday morning.

Author:  wxgeek [ Feb 28, 2018 1:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Warmer and Drier Weather For the Week Ahead

Cold front has moved down across eastern CO this morning ushering in cooler air, so temps today will be close to seasonal norms for most areas, and a bit below average across portions of northeast CO. Weak upper level trough will pass to our south today, with majority of precip remaining south of CO, but enough instability associated with upper trough may trigger a few convective type showers this afternoon, mostly over the mountains and foothills with snow level near 6000 ft. Mountains may see 1-4 inches of snow with best chances south of I-70, otherwise not much accumulation expected.

Upper level ridge moves back over CO Thursday so warmer and dry weather expected statewide as temps rise slightly above average in most areas. By Friday into Saturday, upper level trough moves over the Pacific Northwest with cold and wet weather along much of the West Coast, while here in Co we will see temps rise well above average combined with gusty southwest winds over higher terrain. Foothill areas could see southwest winds of 20-45 mph with higher gusts each day. This combination will create high fire danger for much of eastern CO below 6000 ft with Red Flag conditions expected. Temps are expected to be 10-15 degrees above average both days.

By Sunday, a portion of the upper level trough will move across CO, which will bring cooler temps and better precip chances. Precip will move into western Co Sunday morning with snow level near 6000 ft, and then move into eastern CO by Sunday afternoon and evening as snow level lowers below 4000 ft. Gusty northwest winds will follow passage of cold front Sunday afternoon creating Bora wind conditions in the foothills. Mountain areas could see 2-6 inches of snow Sunday, thus travel in the high country could be difficult. Foothills and areas east likely to see from 1/2 to 2 inches of snow on Sunday, so roads could become slick at higher elevations Sunday afternoon into Sunday evening.

For next week, cool and dry conditions expected Monday into Tuesday, then temps rise above average Wednesday through Friday. Slight chance for some mountain precip late Thursday into Friday, but dry conditions expected elsewhere. Next weekend remains a bit uncertain as ECMWF shows some precip possible, while GFS keeps things dry.

Assuming we don't see much if any measurable snowfall today, our seasonal total on Conifer Mountain stands at 59 inches, which is well below our average through February of 92 inches, so we are at 64% of average to date. We normally receive near 70 inches of snow in March and April, so the next two months typically determines our snowfall fate for the season. So far, indicators point to a drier and warmer than average March for most of CO, so we may be down to April and May for some much needed moisture. If current prediction are accurate, we could see a early start to fire season even in our foothills by mid to late March depending on snowfall during the month. If March and April are both below average, May and June could be downright scary from a fire perspective. It is never too early to become prepared.

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