Cooler temperatures and a better chance of rain across much of Colorado as we end the week

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The chance for rainfall increases into Friday and lingers into the weekend, with widespread thunderstorms expected along the Front Range and Northeast Colorado.

So far, June has been quite a dry month, with only isolated pockets of above average precipitation through the 22nd across Colorado:

The moisture received this week, mostly in that cooldown Sunday and Monday, was about the only notable widespread rainfall since May. Precipitation totals this week, through Wednesday:

Another benefit on the way will be the improved air quality that will come with some rainfall. Ozone and local pollutants are part of the poor air quality, but also wildfire smoke. Dozens of wildfires are burning across the West, including several in Colorado:

The Oil Springs Fire north-northwest of Grand Junction is Colorado's largest fire area as of Thursday morning. The Sylvan Fire in Eagle County and the Muddy Slide Fire near Kremmling are contributing to the smoke we see from the metro areas.

The Outlook:
The Pacific Northwest will experience record-breaking heat this weekend even as we cool some with the better rain chance on the way, we discussed this recently in the article below:

As western drought intensifies, so too does the heat
For those of us living across eastern Colorado, western Kansas, and the Texas/Oklahoma panhandles the recent streak of moisture has been a welcome but a bit of a surprise buck of the overall trend across the western U.S. which continues to see drought grow and intensify. In recent months we’ve str…

For the West, we can't expect weekend rainfall to help the overall fire situation. Total rainfall across the Western US is shown here, with very little precipitation in the forecast west of Colorado:

However, for Colorado, we may see some help. Let's zoom that previous map view into Colorado and look at the amount of rainfall as projected from NOAA.

The Sylvan Fire in Eagle County and the Muddy Slide Fire near Kremmling may both get some help. Same for the Western Slope, however totals there are likely to be low.

3-day rainfall totals for the northern Front Range are shown here:

And, for the southern Front Range.

Some, if not many, of us will pick up more than 1/2 to 1 inch of rainfall over the next three days.

So, how does timing look on the rain?

First, an animation.

The warmest colors, the yellows and oranges, that indicate heaviest rainfall are expected to move through Thursday and Friday, with some lingers areas of rainfall Saturday.

We can be more specific with timing. Here are hourly planners for Fort Collins, Denver, Castle Rock and Colorado Springs.

Fort Collins
Castle Rock
Colorado Springs

You see three peaks, later Thursday, later Friday, later Saturday; Friday has the highest chances of all.

As far as damaging weather from severe thunderstorms we do need to be watchful for stronger thunderstorms east of the mountains for the next three days. Albeit the risks are higher east of Colorado, we remain in a threat area for hail, wind, and isolated tornadoes ourselves. Below is a look at the severe weather outlook for today from the SPC, with a similar setup for Friday – only a bit over a southerly shift in the Slight Risk category vs today.

Bottom Line:
Colorado is impacted by poor air quality, including wildfire smoke, and ongoing drought with wildfires across the west. For the next few days we have higher rain chances to improve those conditions for a time. Sadly, that benefit does not extend across the West but will mainly benefit those from Colorado to the east.

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