Updated Mon Jun 13, 2022 2:00pm MST | Published Mon Jun 13, 2022
- An upper low is impacting the region, bringing a series of weak cold fronts to northern Colorado and some enhanced precipitation chances in northwest Colorado from tonight and into Wednesday.
- Trace amounts of snow are possible in the higher elevations of the northern mountains through Tuesday morning. Maybe an inch or two in favored parts of the Park Range and northern Front Range.
- 10-20 degrees colder in northern Colorado on Tuesday. Similar temperatures to slightly warmer on Wednesday.
- High pressure builds to our east, and we will heat up towards the end of the week, but this will draw in subtropical moisture to the desert southwest with deep southerly flow.
- Cooler temperatures in western Colorado by the weekend as this moisture works its way into the state. Widespread thunderstorm coverage across Colorado is likely, and lots of precipitation is expected in southwestern Colorado into the start of next week.
Southern and eastern Colorado are experiencing one more day of near-record temperatures as southwesterly winds advect hot (and smoky) air into the state.
Since Friday, lots of high temperature records have fallen across the state, or at least been tied, from Grand Junction to Alamosa to Denver. A new wildfire outside of Flagstaff, Arizona (the Pipeline Fire) may foil the Front Range’s chance of record highs today as dense smoke blocks some solar radiation.
Changes are coming shortly. An upper low is dropping into the region and if with it comes cooler temperatures and moisture.
A cold front associated with the system is pushing through Utah and just now entering western Colorado.
Forecast Discussion: Colder Temperatures Tuesday and Wednesday
This cold front will work its way into Colorado over the course of the day. A front will push southwards down the Front Range later this evening, likely reaching the Palmer Divide before midnight.
Unfortunately the main system is just not tracking far south enough to bring better moisture and colder air into Colorado. During the day on Tuesday, a lot of this cooler air will get mixed out. A reinforcing shot of cold air will arrive on Tuesday night, helping push the front all the way down to the New Mexico border, but still, high temperatures in the Front Range urban corridor will likely still be in the 80s.
Southern Colorado wont be impacted too much at all by this system.
In northern Colorado, we could see some better precipitation chances tonight and into tomorrow morning, but this doesn’t look widespread or impactful. The snow level should drop to 9,000ft. in places and trace amounts of snow could fall in the northern mountains, maybe even a couple inches in the Zirkel Wilderness. We’ll see about that…
Forecast Discussion: Early Start of the Monsoon, Stormy Weekend
The system will depart our region on Wednesday and we’ll immediately start warming back up. A large region of high pressure will redevelop over the United States, but fortunately for us, the center of it will be to our east.
This will set up deep southerly flow which will advect large amounts of moisture into the desert southwest. For Colorado, the greatest impacts will be in the San Juans but most of the state should see an uptick in thunderstorm activity by the weekend, with a bit cooler temperatures thanks to the cloud cover and precipitation.
This is a very strong signal in the ensembles, even at long range, so we’re pretty confident that the end of June and into July may feature a productive monsoonal pattern. As we mentioned in the last forecast, La Niña is typically associated with a wetter monsoon season, and dry soil moisture anomalies in the southern Great Plains may promote the eastward progression high pressure which would set up enhanced transport of moisture into our area.
Conversely, this sort of front-loaded monsoon season combined with La Niña weakening towards the end of summer may promote drier conditions by August/September. Long range modeling shows high pressure moving back west which could block the flow of moisture, particularly to New Mexico, but also to much of Colorado. That’s far from a certainty though.
Anyways, with moisture dumping into the state this weekend, we’re looking at some pretty spicy thunderstorm potential for the weekend.
Thunderstorm coverage looks widespread and storms could get going as early as 11am. Being above treeline may be tough, and in general, expecting lots of people to get frequently rained out. Friday and Monday should also feature fairly active storm activity, but Saturday and Sunday to be the worst of it.
Models are starting to show some impressive precipitation totals for the San Juans by the start of next week, which is badly needed.
There’s a weak signal in the ensembles that similar conditions could continue into next week. Stay tuned.