Denver, Colorado

Watching for the Chance for Storms this Easter Weekend

Posted by @BrendansWeather
A relatively warm weather pattern will stick with us through the weekend and into early next week. Temperatures Friday have soared to near 80 degrees across the metro. While we expect cooler temperatures for both Saturday and Sunday, both days should still be mostly pleasant with highs in the upper 60s to near 70 degrees.

The big weather story over the next few days will be the chance for scattered rain and storms across eastern Colorado. The unsettled weather will also mean a chance for rain and snow showers at higher elevations, so if your plans take you west for the weekend, please plan accordingly. We don't expect the weekend to turn into a soaker, but as you can see in the NAM simulated reflectivity for Saturday afternoon there are widely scattered storms across the state.

NAM Simulated Radar

Same is true for Sunday when we might have a bit more moisture to work with. Timing will be key in if we see more rain Saturday PM vs Sunday. Like earlier this week, and frankly with any luck at all, rain chances may be greatest south of Denver where it's needed most. While still a 'hole' over southeast Colorado, it's good to see some moisture trying to return to that part of the state. The GFS is pretty excited in spots about precipitation totals by Monday, but don't take this too literally. . .

GFS Total Precip

Here's another look from NOAA's HPC -- shows widespread light QPF for state through Monday.


By early next week we dry it out and warm it up once more. Temperatures by Tuesday could be even warmer than today!

We'll post updates through the weekend should anything change rain-wise -- otherwise, wishing everyone a great weekend from all of us at Weather5280!

Storm on Track, Keeps Best Precipitation South of Denver

Posted by @BrendansWeather
As we discussed yesterday, another storm will begin to affect Colorado today through Thursday bringing at least a slight chance of rain and snow to Denver.

The eventual track of this system was the biggest uncertainty yesterday, as only a slight shift would mean a greater or lesser chance for shower activity in Denver and the northern Front Range communities. 18z model runs yesterday trended south, away from Denver, and the 0z runs last night did little to change this idea. We'll stick with cool and unsettled for Denver this afternoon through Thursday, but temperatures are not looking as chilly Thursday as they once were, and precipitation chances will be low.

South of Denver the forecast remains interesting. The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for areas west of Colorado Springs which we outlined yesterday could have the best chance for appreciable snowfall. Currently thinking 4 to 8 inches will be possible there (at elevations >6700 ft), but will need to watch for another southern shift in precipitation.

Should the NAM pan out, this will be a good little snow for the southern Front Range, with good soaking rain trying to push east into the southeast plains. . .

NAM Total Snowfall Thru FridayNAM Total Precip Thru Friday

The hi-res HRRR looks very similar, though may try and keep bulk of moisture south of Colorado Springs.

HRRR Precip Type Accumulation

Notice how both of these models keep Denver and northeast Colorado virtually dry through Friday. This could very well be the case -- but we think there will be just enough ingredients in place to keep a chance for showers this afternoon and overnight Wednesday into Thursday for the Denver area. Again, not expecting much in the form of measurable precipitation in the city, but something to keep in mind if you're headed out and about, especially if you're headed south.

Temperatures will spring back nicely Friday, with highs expected back near 70 degrees for much of eastern Colorado by Friday.

GFS 2m Temps

Easter weekend looks mostly pleasant for the state, but we'll need to track the chance for thunderstorms Saturday, and at least a slight chance for rain on Sunday. Neither day of the weekend looks particularly cold however, with highs in the 60s likely both days.

Next Storm Targets Southeast Colorado

Posted by @BrendansWeather
Rain and snow looks promising for drought-stricken southeast Colorado
We promised an April more active than March, and so far the month has delivered. Two weeks in and we've seen several good soaking storms across northeast Colorado, and great late-season snows for the high country. Another system arrives Wednesday, and will bring another round of cool and unsettled weather to eastern Colorado through Thursday.

This next system looks to favor southeast Colorado. The best chance for appreciable precipitation through Friday will be from I-70 south, and from the southern Front Range mountains east. While not an exact bullseye for heaviest precipitation over the part of the state hardest hit by drought, any bit of moisture will only help. Here's what the GFS has in mind for total precipitation through Friday, with the U.S. Drought Monitor graphic to the right for comparison.

GFS PrecipDrought Monitor

This system will be relatively warm, especially when compared to our last system. With that, much of the precipitation that does fall at lower elevations will be in the form of rain, or a rain snow mix. The best chance for accumulating snowfall at this time looks to be across the Palmer Divide, and at higher elevations across the Front Range foothills. There is actually pretty good agreement between the models here, with nearly all of them painting a bullseye of heaviest snow across Teller County, and western / northwestern Colorado Springs.

GFS Snowfall Map

The track of this system just doesn't favor much snow or rain for Denver. We'll go ahead and call it unsettled for Wednesday afternoon and Thursday, with at least a chance for rain and rain mixed with snow through the period. Temperatures will cool too -- after highs in the 60s Tuesday, we'll be back in the 40s across the metro for Thursday. Without a notable shift in track over the next 24 hours, we think locales to Denver's south will be favored with this storm.

Take a look at the SREF ensembles for Denver (left) and Colorado Springs (right). Both means show measurable precip through the period, but far more members are on board for COS. Mean QPF for DEN 09z was just 0.09 inches, while COS was 0.45 inches.

SREF Total Precip DENSREF Total Precip COS

We'll keep you posted as this system continues to develop and pass along updates as needed. The long and the short of it is plan for another round of cool and unsettled weather for Wednesday into Thursday, with winter driving conditions at higher elevations, especially Thursday morning.

Beyond Thursday the pattern continues to look active. The EPS Weeklies that came in last night confirm that (and they've been pretty spot on this spring), as well as all global models showing several more disturbances (with warmth in between) through the end of the month, and likely into May.

Spring Storm Recap

Posted by @brendansweather
Our latest spring storm is now well east of the area, bringing snow to Kansas and as far south as Oklahoma City this morning. While some locations did 'bust' low with snowfall from this system, overall (if we did grade our forecasts) I may not give it as bad a grade as some might expect. Snowfall totals from the storm ranged from a few inches to 15 inches, and brought another round of beneficial moisture to the state.

Bitter cold for April
This storm was impressive on many counts. Let's back up to Saturday afternoon when Denver climbed to 72 degrees at Denver International Airport. Twenty four hours later the temperature read 28 degrees with light snow, fog, and a stiff breeze. That's a 44 degree temperature swing in 24 hours, and over 50 degrees difference between Saturday afternoon's high, and Monday morning's low.

Unfortunately for the new buds on the trees, this storm brought with it some very cold temperatures for this time of year. While Denver bottomed out last night several degrees warmer than the record low for the date (19 degrees at last check, with the record low being 15), the Daily Camera is reporting that Boulder high 14 degrees this morning, a record low for the date.

Soaking storm
If you'll recall, we were fairly confident that this storm would bring good moisture,, and even that we'd see snow, but the question mark all week was -- how much snow would actually accumulate? The moisture certainly delivered. Here are the CoCoRaHS 24 hour precipitation reports as of 7am this morning, many locations seeing totals in excess of 0.5" from this storm.

CoCoRaHS Precip Totals Map

Snowfall totals
If we take a look at snowfall totals from the same report network, we see totals in Denver from 2 to 6 inches. For our forecast we had Denver split for totals going into this storm, with 5 to 8 inches forecast for the south/west/east metro, and 3 to 6 for the northern metro.

The Bust Index was relatively high across the board at a 5 out of 10. The Bust Index is the potential for actual totals to be LOWER than forecast. We left the BI relatively high given several factors: a) warm surface temperatures (it was 70 degrees for several days prior to the snow falling), b) daytime snowfall, as high sun angle this time of year is a snow-eater, and c) storm intensity -- the storm didn't have all the characteristics we look for in a good spring snow.

Decent snowfall totals nonetheless. And if you took our comparison to previous storms to heart, you'd notice totals this time were once again very similar to those systems. Had timing worked out with more of the precipitation coming after dark Sunday, many of these totals would be much higher this morning, especially with the cold temperatures that worked in behind the front.

The foothills did even better, with anywhere from a few inches to nearly 13 inches being reported. We had 8 - 12 inches forecast for the Front Range foothills, so generally speaking, not too far off.

CoCoRaHS Snowfall Map

We tried to stress that snow would have a hard time sticking with this storm, especially during daylight hours Sunday. We noted that roads would remain mostly wet, and even where 5 to 8 inches of snow fell in Denver there would be melting, before colder temperatures arrived for the second half of the storm. Some were left wanting more, and that's fair. For the snow lovers in the group this storm didn't necessarily over-perform.

A lot of what we try to do here at Weather5280 is explain the uncertainty behind forecasts, and why that uncertainty exists for any given storm. If we fell short on this storm, then we'll try better next time!

More snow in the forecast
Don't put away those jackets just yet. After a cool Monday temperatures will rebound nicely for Tuesday ahead of another cold front and chance for snow Wednesday into Thursday. We'll have more on this later in the day, but expect another chance for accumulating snow for some, and another shot of cold air for eastern Colorado.