Colorado Weather Forecast #200: Tuesday Update | June 28, 2022

Consistent thunderstorm chances in Colorado's high country into next week, with a possible pattern change coming. Over the next seven days, Thursday and Friday feature another moisture pulse, while Saturday looks to be the driest day.

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Updated Tue Jun 28, 2022 1:00pm MST | Published Tue Jun 28, 2022

By Thomas Horner

Summary

  • Another push of deep moisture on Thursday/Friday.
  • In terms of lightning, Saturday looks to be the safest day over the next week, but storm coverage still looks pretty considerable in the mountains.
  • Monsoonal moisture surges into mid next week, then a possible pattern change.

Lightning Risk Grids

Retrospective and Current Conditions

Hello everyone. This is our 200th forecast article since we started writing these a couple years ago!

This weekend was certainly quite wet across the region, which is partially why this article is a day late. Southern Colorado and New Mexico picked up copious amounts of rainfall.

This was accompanied by a nice cooldown as a strong cold front pushed down the southern Rockies and Front Range.

This brough a coating of snow to the higher peaks, as seen on Mt. Silverheels on Sunday:

Lightning was a big concern this weekend, and most of Colorado’s mountain ranges did end up seeing lightning strikes.

The biggest issue with the forecast was once again the Front Range and lower elevations of the foothills. The upslope on Saturday / Sunday had shallower moisture than expected, which made orographic precipitation spottier. We were banking on that as the primary driver of precipitation, as the cold front introduced a capping inversion which prevented thunderstorm development over the area. Weather model guidance got this setup wrong and we noticed high resolution models switching to a much drier solution in the hours leading up to the frontal passage.

Still, very good moisture for the places that really need it, and we’re hoping to see some improvements on the drought map when an update is released later this week.

Currently, you can see clouds rotating around a center of high pressure in Utah.

The position of that feature is helping keep us warmer and drier today, with only isolated weak thunderstorms expected in the Colorado high country today.

Forecast Discussion

In general, the mountains have decent thunderstorm coverage into mid next week, and we’re just looking at when conditions are particularly dangerous. Into next week, you definitely prioritize being below treeline by 12pm.

The ridging to our west should break down and track east over the course of the week.

This will allow deep subtropical moisture to advect back into Colorado by Thursday, which looks to stick around into Friday. This big moisture surge should drive widespread thunderstorm coverage with some lightning possibly by 11am.

Saturday is a bit of a transition day as flow becomes zonal and moisture works its way back out of the area. By the end of the weekend, high pressure re-establishes itself over the southern midwest which means we’ll get more chances at seeing surges of monsoonal moisture starting on Sunday and likely progressing until Tuesday or Wednesday of next week.

After that, we could see a strong ridge of high pressure developing over the southwest. This would likely shut the door for monsoonal moisture pulses at least for a little while. However, with a large trough over the Pacific Northwest, we may see northern Colorado getting a better share of the moisture as we progress into the second week of July.

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