Colorado Weather Forecast #205: Thursday Update | July 21, 2022

Widespread thunderstorms return this weekend, and are likely for the foreseeable future.

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Updated Thu Jul 21, 2022 3:30pm MST | Published Thu Jul 21, 2022

By Thomas Horner

Summary

  • Slightly drier into Friday, then widespread thunderstorm coverage returns for the foreseeable future.
  • Very hot on Friday and Saturday.
  • Next week, thunderstorm coverage slightly favors southern Colorado. Not as hot, with a potentially substantial cooldown for Thursday-ish.

Lightning Risk Grids

Forecast Discussion

A center of high pressure is located to our west, over Arizona. Satellite shows winds circulating clockwise (anticyclonically) around this area of high pressure.

This puts Colorado under a northwest flow regime which is bringing slightly cooler temperatures into the state. Initially, this flow is also advecting drier air into our region. Today and Friday feature lower thunderstorm potential across the board than the past few days, but for context, this means isolated to scattered thunderstorm activity across the high country as opposed to many waves of widespread stronger storms.

Southern Colorado is most favored for thunderstorm activity over the next couple days. The high plains, including the I-25 corridor, should have some of the driest air in place. Most precipitation will come from storms blowing off the mountains and falling apart as they descend to lower elevations.

By the weekend, flow will turn more westerly as high pressure moves back east towards the Four Corners region. This should tap into a pocket of subtropical moisture that’s over the Great Basin, and we’ll be back to that more widespread thunderstorm coverage, especially on Sunday as a weak shortwave passes to the north of us.

Ahead of that shortwave, another blast of hot air is likely. Triple digits are possible in the Front Range on both Friday and Saturday. The shortwave will help drive a weak front into Colorado on Sunday which will keep temperatures a bit cooler, but still pretty hot.

Thunderstorm coverage looks to remain considerable into next week as the monsoonal moisture is oriented directly into western Colorado as high pressure moves to our east. The ridge overhead also breaks down a bit which will allow for more lift and slightly cooler temperatures.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the best thunderstorm coverage will be in southern Colorado, with significantly less activity in northern Colorado.

A large trough looks to impact us around Wednesday/Thursday of next week as well. This should provide a reinforcing shot of moisture, considerably cooler temperatures, and dynamic lift.

The Euro ensemble shows a decently cold upslope for the Front Range:

Highs next Thursday may be limited to the upper 70s or low 80s at higher elevation. It’s a long ways out, so this is fairly speculative. Regardless, expecting next week to provide a break from the scorching temperatures that we have (and will) experience this week.

Overall, if you’re in southern Colorado, you probably wont get much of a respite from frequent afternoon thunderstorms until August. Northern Colorado may get some breaks here and there next week, but either way, not seeing any great weather windows for those looking to maximize time above treeline from this weekend and into the next.

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