Fire weather to winter weather

1:00 PM MDT, Thursday, October 22, 2020

The first of two strong cold fronts is impacting the lower foothills and eastern plains of Colorado but not resulting in much change for the higher terrain and west of the continental divide. The next cold front Saturday evening is expected to bring more widespread cold as well as snow to the whole area during the second half of the weekend.

Fire weather

The lower elevation fires east of the divide are being tamed by the colder and damper weather in the eastern foothills. There may be a brief period of warmer and drier westerly winds that develop on Saturday ahead of the next cold front, but then very cold weather and snow should really help control those fires Sunday and Monday.

The high elevation and west slope fires (like East Troublesome Gulch) are still in the relatively dry and warm air above this shallow cold air mass. By Saturday it is likely that strong westerly winds will develop ahead of the next cold front. Then snow and cold on Sunday and Monday should help quiet those fires as well.

Cold and Snow

Today’s cold air and clouds are shallow (the higher mountains are above it) and not likely to produce any significant precipitation. But there will probably be some areas of drizzle or freezing drizzle and maybe some tiny snowflakes (called snow grains) through Friday morning, mainly in localized areas in and along the foothills.

After the cold front late Saturday we are likely to see widespread snow and cold, with record cold possible early next week. At least a couple inches of snow appears likely, and this type of storm may exhibit some southwest to northeast bands of snow with heavier amounts. I will update on Saturday.

2 thoughts on “Fire weather to winter weather

  1. David Wagner

    Hi Matt, I’ve misplaced your email address. How does a foot of snow affect a wildfire like the East Troublesome Fire? David

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    1. mkelsch14 Post author

      The snow should be a great help for the fight against the fires. The Sep snow extinguished some and reduced others. The Cameron Peak fire did spring back to life in the dry warm weather that followed. The difference this time is that we are deeper into the autumn and I’m hopeful that that the drying out following the snow won’t be as fast, so firefighters can get control of any hot spots that remain.

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