Author Archives: mkelsch14

About mkelsch14

I work for the COMET Program at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) in Boulder, Colorado. I am the NWS cooperative climate observer and the local CoCoRaHs network coordinator. I have an MS degree in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma, and a BS in meteorology from the State University of New York, College at Oswego.

Snow then record cold Wednesday night through Friday morning

12:30 PM MDT, Tuesday, October 8, 2019

A strong cold front Wednesday evening will bring in unusually cold weather, with record lows likely on Friday morning. Wintry precipitation is likely Wednesday night and Thursday bringing the first measurable snow of the season to the lower foothills and plains.

 

Snow:

Low clouds are likely to increase rapidly Wednesday evening following the arrival of the cold air. Some areas of light freezing drizzle or snow are likely Wednesday overnight (maybe some rain at the start).  Precipitation on Thursday is likely to be snow. This is not a classic upslope event with east of northeast winds through the depth of the mountains. The main snow will likely be a southwest-to-northeast band that moves southward through the area (oriented with the upper air jet stream). There may be a brief period of moderate or heavy snow with that band. Right now it looks like timing of the snow band will be Thursday morning for areas north of Denver, and maybe late morning and early afternoon from Denver south. This timing may shift by a few hours as we get closer to the storm.

 

Likely accumulation:

Foothills and plains: 1-3 inches in most areas (local areas up to 5″ if the snow band slows or stalls briefly)

Near the continental divide: 3-7 inches.

 

Cold:

The front will probably be through Cheyenne in the late afternoon Wednesday and then move rapidly down the Front Range late Wednesday afternoon through early evening. Temperatures are likely to plunge to the 20s Wednesday night, and remain near or below freezing on Thursday. Under clear skies and likely snow cover Thursday night we will likely see record lows by Friday morning.

Friday’s record for Denver is 22 set in 1946.

Friday’s record for Boulder is 20 set in 1977.

Friday’s record for Cheyenne is 15 set in 1977.

 

 

Wednesday cold front to bring hard freeze and probably snow

4:25 PM MDT, Sunday, October 6, 2019

A strong cold front late on Wednesday will bring widespread freezing temperatures by Thursday morning and a good chance for the season’s first measurable snow across the lower elevations on Thursday.

 

After the likelihood of scattered frosts tomorrow morning (Monday) the first part of the week should be pleasantly warm for early October. That should come to an end late Wednesday afternoon or evening. Temperatures in Colorado Springs-Denver-Boulder-Fort Collins- Cheyenne will likely drop below freezing Wednesday night, possibly stay below freeing Thursday, and could be down in the teens Friday morning.

 

It appears that there may be a period of snow that accumulates on Thursday (maybe beginning Wednesday night as rain changing to snow). Right now the potential accumulation looks fairly minor (trace-3 inches). But we should watch how that develops since more than 3 inches this time of year could result in broken tree limbs.

Windy cold front, then dry & cool weekend

6:20 AM MDT, Friday, October 4, 2019

A Pacific cold front should move northwest-to-southeast across the Front Range region this evening, but with little or no precipitation. However, gusty west to northwest winds are likely to accompany and follow the cold front this evening into Saturday for parts of the region. The higher mountains and west slope did not benefit from the cool drizzle earlier this week, and so the dryness combined with the gusty winds may elevate the risk of wildfire in those areas.

 

After the period of gusty winds, it should be a dry weekend with chilly mornings and mild afternoons. Temperatures for Colo Springs-Denver-Boulder-Fort Collins-Cheyenne are likely reach the 60s during the afternoon and drop to the 30s at night. There may be some local frosts either Sunday or Monday morning once the wind dies down, especially in some of the cooler river valleys. Warmer weather is likely next week until the next cold front around midweek.

Notable cool spell this week

4:50 PM MDT, Sunday, September 29, 2019

A cold front late Monday will bring the coolest weather so far this season Monday night through Wednesday morning. We are not expecting any early-season snow in the urban corridor, but it might get a bit damp by Tuesday morning.

 

Most of the daytime hours on Monday will be ahead of the front, so another warm day is likely. It may start to cool by late in the day, especially in southeastern Wyoming. Cool upslope (northeasterly) flow Monday night will bring in the cooler air. For the lower foothills and plains (including the urban corridor) there is a good chance for a period of low clouds and areas of fog and drizzle late Monday night into Tuesday. Depending on how quickly those clouds thin out, Tuesday could have a high in the 50s for Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins.

 

With clearing skies likely Tuesday night we are likely to see some local frosts in the normally colder spots such as the river valleys in northeastern Colorado. Milder weather is likely to make a comeback Wednesday afternoon.

Chance for showers/thunderstorms Friday

6:30 AM MDT, Thursday, September 26, 2019

After a long stretch of dry days, Friday will bring a chance for showers and thunderstorms along with cooler weather. Mainly dry and warmer weather should return for Saturday and Sunday.

 

The rain on Friday will be scattered and mainly in the afternoon and evening. It appears that most areas should get at least a sprinkle, with a few spots getting a brief heavier shower or thunderstorm.

 

After a mainly dry weekend, another cold front late Monday or Tuesday will bring cooler weather, but that air mass may be limited in moisture. However, by midweek some of the cooler river valleys of northeastern Colorado may have to prepare for frost.

Warm and mainly dry through the Autumn equinox

1:30 PM MDT, Wednesday, September 18, 2019

I haven’t written much because we have been in a rather uneventful pattern for a while. With a few local exceptions, the Front Range region has generally been warmer and drier than average since mid July. Average afternoon temperatures in the lower elevations have now fallen to the mid 70s, and we are likely to be around that (or a little warmer) through the Monday (and the autumnal equinox is Monday at 1:30 AM MDT). There is a small chance for afternoon showers or thunderstorms (and maybe a light coating of wet snow in the highest elevations), mainly Thursday or Friday, but many areas are likely to come through with no significant precipitation. The weekend is looking dry.

 

The next chance for significant widespread precipitation is late Monday or Tuesday, but even that is iffy. The path and development of that particular storm is too uncertain at this time for me to be confident of some good precipitation, but it’s worth watching.

 

First Snow?

The average time for the first measurable snow in places like Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins is mid October. In the last 70 years the odds are about 1-in-4 for the first snow to occur in September. In the last 18 years measurable snow only occurred once in September (in 2014) along the urban corridor. So you can say we are due, but there are no obvious signs yet that this will be a year for September snow.

Thunderstorms today and Sunday

5:50 AM MDT, Friday, September 6, 2019

The 90-degree days are gone for at least the weekend, and you should expect more late-day cloud cover along with a scattering of afternoon showers and thunderstorms for the next three days. Today may be the first time in a while when measurable rain occurs at more than just a few isolated locations, and there may even be some locally intense thunderstorms. Although thunderstorms may be around both afternoons of the weekend, it appears that the chance for thunderstorms is greater on Sunday than it is on Saturday.

 

Drier and warmer weather will likely return early next week, but we don’t expect the same levels of record heat to return.