Hot and dry now; some monsoon moisture this weekend

6:45 AM MDT, Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Temperatures in many low-elevation areas are likely to reach the 95-100 range this afternoon and Thursday afternoon. Friday will likely continue the heat wave, but with a small chance of afternoon thunderstorms re-entering the scene, and slightly less hot temperatures. The weekend is expected to bring cooler weather with a much better chance for showers and thunderstorms across the Front Range region.

What is the monsoon?

The Southwest monsoon (sometimes called the North American monsoon or the Mexican monsoon) is not responsible for all summer rain, but it can have a major influence during mid summer. It occurs when numerous thunderstorms along the Mexican Sierra pump lots of tropical Pacific moisture into the atmosphere. By mid July some of the moisture works its way into the American Southwest where it enhances the chances for showers and thunderstorms. In some years that moisture brings one or more periods of enhanced shower/thunderstorm activity to Colorado and Wyoming.

The monsoon has been active in the Southwest (including southern Colorado) this month. This weekend we may see it expand through Colorado and into Wyoming, at least for a day or two. Although there are exceptions, monsoon thunderstorms are not typically known for severe hail or tornadoes. But under certain conditions they can produce heavy rain.

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