Western heat wave continues; a small moderation for the Front Range

10:30 AM MDT, Friday, August 14, 2020

A large upper level high centered over our region has kept it dry and hot. That upper high will strengthen  but also shift westward a little so that it’s centered over Utah and Nevada. For the Front Range and eastern Colorado that means that some slightly less hot air may slip in from the northern plains every now and then over the next 5-7 days. In fact the first example of that is moving southward through eastern Colorado right now, and so today’s hot temperatures may top out early and then fall off a little this afternoon. But don’t expect any truly long-lived switch to cooler weather; we are still in a warm and dry pattern. If you are heading west for the weekend, record and near-record  hot temperatures are likely over western Colorado, Utah, and the Southwest.

 

Moisture

A slight increase in atmospheric moisture through the weekend may bring back the chance for some isolated late-day thunderstorms. But I expect most areas will not experience any rain of substance over at least the next five days. I hope I’m wrong.

Smoke

Many parts of the Front Range have been experience terrible air quality due to wildfires in western Colorado. I have good news and bad news about that. The good news is that as the upper high strengthens to our west, our winds above the surface will switch from west to more northwest or north. So smoke from the western Colorado fires will not drift this way anymore. The bad news is that with high fire danger throughout Colorado and Wyoming, new fires locally or to the north could be a new source of smoke. In fact a fire west of Fort Collins this morning is expanding as I write.

Enjoy the weekend, and be very careful with fire!

 

 

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