Brian Bledsoe

Brian Bledsoe is Weather5280’s climate and long-range forecast specialist. Brian is chief meteorologist at KKTV in Colorado Springs. Follow him on Twitter @BrianBledsoe
Colorado Weather
Colorado weather: Active finish to May and start to June?
While we've had some severe storms in Colorado this spring, and some have been pretty rough, we haven't seen a lot of severe weather. However, we are entering the traditional peak severe weather time for eastern Colorado. Historically speaking, the next 30-45 days is the peak of severe weather season for eastern Colorado. We can still get severe storms after this upcoming period, but the next month and a half is the traditional peak. Last June was something. One of more significant severe even
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Transitioning from El Niño to La Niña and what that could mean for spring
We've been locked into El Niño conditions since last spring. Sea surface temperature anomalies have been much above average in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, but have recently really started to cool off. The El Niño peaked in late December and early January, and continues to weaken. Here is the equatorial sea surface temperature anomaly animation, during the past 90 days. This graphic represents the depth (0-450 meters) and east (120 degrees E) to west ( 80 degrees west) across the equatorial P
Snowfall Forecast
Colorado snow storm: Saturday afternoon update, latest forecast
> 9am Fort Collins. Some light snowfall accumulation overnight. #cowx @BianchiWeather @MattMakens @weather5280 @CReppWx — Howard Gebhart (@GebhartHoward) October 28, 20
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El Niño forecast discussion and update, July 2023
It has been a little over a month since we last looked at our old friend , so it's time to see what the (incoming?) El Niño is up to. The graphic below shows current sea surface temperature anomalies, where yellows/reds indicate above average surface temperatures and blues below average. A few things to note, before I show you what it looked like earlier this year: 1. The warmest water in the ENSO region is centere
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2023 North American Monsoon forecast update
As we head deeper into July we thought it time to give an update on the progress of the monsoon. If you've been frequenting the site, you know that we not only expected the monsoon to be a late arrival, but also a diminished one. So far, there has not been any real monsoon signal. The graphic below shows is a precipitable water forecast, for the next two weeks. Basically, brown means a drier atmosphere, and green means a moist atmosphere. The green that shows up across Colorado and the surroun
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Weather5280 Insider: El Niño update
Just a short update on the current status, and where we are likely heading with El Niño. First, here is a look at the current sea surface temperature anomalies: Very  warm water just off the west coast of South America, and that warmer  than average water extends westward across the equatorial Pacific Ocean. Overall, the Pacific Ocean continues to warm, despite a few spots that  are currently cooler than average. All of the  forecast models continue to develop this episode further, during th
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Recent rain, El Niño and a look ahead to the North American monsoon
The weather pattern has been active! Get a load of the rainfall anomalies for the past 30 days! Some of the rains that have been happening along and east of the mountains are some of the biggest rains we've seen in a long time. While we still have a ways to go for some areas, this is the type of pattern we've been talking about for months. Late April and May were going to be the "tell" for the developing pattern. Rainfall anomalies for the next two  weeks looks like this: Some areas of the No
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Monthly weather outlook: A look at the remainder of May and on into June
The past 30 days have proved to be wetter than recent times in some areas, but not for everyone. Folks in far Southeast Colorado, Southwest Kansas, southward into the Texas Panhandle really benefited from a late April storm. While it was by no means a drought buster, it was certainly a big help. You can see that in the map below, with greens indicating above average precipitation over the last 30 days, and browns below average. The Pacific Ocean has been warming up too. The equatorial Pacific
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Regional weather Insiders update: October, 2022
The “leftovers” of the summer monsoon have still been kicking for parts of the Desert Southwest over the last 30 days, but areas farther east have been largely shut-out. You can see how much drier it was for Southeast Colorado, Southwest Kansas, and the Panhandles, versus areas farther west and north. Zoomed in to Colorado one can see that for many locations the last month has actually been a positive in the precipitation department, even as some parts of the state (particularly the southeast
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La Niña update and early fall/winter outlook
La Niña is still alive and well. The sea surface temperature anomaly animation for the past 90 days not only shows La Niña being maintained, but it is actually getting a bit stronger. While the North Pacific has warmed from late this spring, the central/equatorial Pacific has remained quite cool. The animation below shows what is happening beneath the surface across the equatorial Pacific: Simply put, the graphic shows ocean depth down to 450 meters across the equatorial Pacific Ocean. Those
La Niña
July La Niña and monsoon update
Plenty to sort through with this update, and based on what I'm seeing we have a lot riding on it too. First, let's look at what La Niña and rest of the global sea surface temperature anomalies have been doing, for the past 90 days. 1. Despite La Niña being very much alive, it has been weakening a bit recently. Notice less blue shading along the equatorial Pacific. 2. The colder than average water that was in the Gulf of Alaska and along the West Coast of the US has also been warming
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Storm for next week?
While we've been battling strong wind and high fire danger this week, we are also watching whether we'll see an actual storm next week. The images below are the various 500mb pattern forecasts, from the model ensemble means. The animations start Monday, and end Thursday: ECMWF Ensemble Mean GEFS Ensemble Mean CMC Ensemble Mean To be honest, it is quite shocking that all three models have a pretty similar solution. They take a strong upper level wave across the state, and eject it into the Mi
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February, 2022 La Niña update and what that may mean for precipitation patterns as we head toward spring and summer
We are midway through the winter, and with that it's time drop you a note about what La Niña is up to. First, a look at SST (sea surface temperature) anomalies across the equatorial Pacific: The above animation runs from early November through late January. Notice the blue shading really shrinking across the central and eastern Pacific Ocean. This is occurring at the surface of the ocean, and shows those anomalies not only becoming smaller, but also of less magnitude. The animation below sho
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Some drought improvement heading into August's outlook
Despite some good news in the form of a relatively active monsoon so far this year, drought continues across most of the Western United States, with conditions continuing to deteriorate across the northern High Plains. If we look at the Drought Monitor class change over the last four weeks, we find the greatest improvement across portions of Arizona, New Mexico, and Western Colorado, while surrounding areas west, north, and northeast generally saw drought conditions worsen or expand in cover
Ever Hear About The Atlantic El Niño?
Yep, it's true... The Atlantic Ocean has its own version of El Niño. It isn't quite the global influencer that the bigger Pacific El Niño is... However, it has been researched enough to provide somewhat of "a tell" about what phase the Pacific ENSO may develop into. First off, where does the Atlantic El Niño occur? The map above shows the warmer than average sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Guinea...just off the west coast of Africa. This "ENSO region" is much smaller than the Pacific E
Denver Forecast
Rain or No Rain This Weekend?
Given the recent record heat and mainly dry weather, it is time we need a drink from the sky. Normally, the month of June can provide this in a round of strong to severe thunderstorms. Lately, such storms have been scarce... While this upcoming weekend offers better chances for some rain, it is far from a perfect scenario to deliver on what we need. The maps below show rainfall potential from the various models through Monday. Why through Monday? Because a strong cold front rolls through Sunday
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Monsoon or "nonsoon" this summer?
I want to immediately couch this post as a post that contains quite a bit of uncertainty. However, it's time to take a stab at a forecast that involves whether or not we monsoon this summer. The map below adeptly explains what are referring to , when we talk about the monsoon. The past couple of summers, we have largely missed out on the monsoon. The maps below show how dry the past two July/August periods have been, which is the core of the "monsoon season" for the Southwest US. 2019 July-Aug
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Status of the MJO and potential impacts on our weather
Just as a refresher, the MJO or Madden-Julian Oscillation is an eastward moving disturbance of clouds, rainfall, winds, and pressure that traverses the planet in the tropics and returns to its initial starting point in 30 to 60 days, on average. There can be multiple MJO events within a season. So, the MJO is best described as intraseasonal tropical climate variability (i.e. varies on a week-to-week basis). It is different from El Niño or La Niña, because those phenomena remain stationary with
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Upslope trouble tonight and early Wednesday?
Model images below are from the EURO Model Upslope Potential The storm that is set to move through the area looks to produce some good rain and snow for some of us. While amounts are both in question, one of the main ingredients that models are focusing on is some pretty solid upslope. The animation below shows wind speed and direction at roughly 5000 to 7000 feet above the ground, from this morning through early Wednesday evening: As low pressure moves through E/NE Colorado, the wind turns fr
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What a weakening La Niña could mean for spring and summer temperature and precipitation patterns across the Plains
In recent weeks, we have seen some changes take place with the ongoing La Niña episode, primarily in that it has weakened by quite a bit. The series of graphics below shows that trend. Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly Change Sub Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly Change Two very noticeable things are occurring. 1) the pronounced cold pool at the surface has warmed and almost disappeared and 2) the colder than average water that existed down to about 150 meters in the Central/Western Pacific has
Forecast Discussion
Taking a look at snowfall forecast maps tonight after a day full of GFS map sharing shenanigans
You'd probably have to be living under a rock not to have heard about the POTENTIAL storm set to impact the region late this week and weekend. That being said, there is a lot more that goes into it than just snow maps. But since everyone like to see the pretty colors these days, here is a brief rundown of them... ECMWF Dete
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A check on our Winter Outlook as we head into February
We are basically at the half way point through "winter" and we wanted to give you a little update on what our forecast looked like, versus how things have been panning out. Our outlooks take us all the way through March, so a lot of time yet for these maps to change – but given the halfway point, a good opportunity to check in on overall trends we've seen in the pattern so far this winter season. The maps below represent our forecast from October, you can find our full winter outlook below, an
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Status on La Niña and Latest NMME Model Outlook
Happy New Year Insiders! La Niña Update: First, the map below shows the precipitation anomaly in inches during the past 30 days. Besides drought having already been entrenched, most of Eastern Colorado, and the Western High Plains have actually been ok, during the past month. Our mountains have struggled, as have many in The West. Notice how dry it has been in Northern California and the Pacific Northwest. This is pretty uncharacteristic of a strong La Niña, but remember, this La Niña is a l
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A look at the latest NMME model data for the coming months
The latest NMME forecast is out, and remains very consistent with previous runs. It is also very bullish on the continued development and maintenance of the ongoing La Niña. The maps below show the model forecast sea surface temperature anomalies for the next several months. October November December January February March April You can see how the La Niña (blue shaded area in Central/Eastern Pacific Ocean) starts to go away in March and April. That is typically the case, especially whe
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La Niña status and an updated look at analog years for the upcoming winter
We've been writing about La Niña for months now. It is established, and is getting stronger. You can see the sea surface anomalies trend colder (bluer) during the past several weeks, not only at the surface: But beneath the surface too: Most models continue to show La Niña prevailing for the next several months. Here is the current sea surface temperature anomaly map, showing the budding La Niña: So, where does the current situation stack up in relation to past years?  Well, our analog lis
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La Niña update and potential analog year as we look ahead to fall
We will continue to update you on the progress of La Niña, because we think it is the single most important thing in our long range forecast. Granted, we still have a ways to go before the active hurricane season comes to an end, but the development of La Niña will likely have some pretty big ramifications. At the time of this article, here is a look at the sea surface temperature anomalies: cYou can see the “blue and green” shading off the west coast of South America, indicating cooler than
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Updated monsoon outlook
We have talked at length about how we thought the monsoon would fail again this year, and wanted to update you on whether out thoughts have changed. The answer in short is no. While some areas have received some rain lately, it has been quite spotty overall, and not nearly enough to erase the ongoing drought for much of the area . Here is a look at precipitation anomalies over the last 90 days: You can
PM Update
Fourth of July Forecast
While drought development and intensification has been at the forefront of the forecast lately, we may get a little break from that this weekend. From the looks of things, we'll have some thunderstorm making fuel around this weekend. This looks to be especially true on Saturday. Before we address the rain potential, here is a look at the expected high temperatures for both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday High Temperatures Sunday High Temperatures Rain chances start to ramp up on Saturday aftern
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A look at the latest seasonal model data and some thoughts on this year's monsoon
The latest EURO Seasonal forecast came out today, and it really isn't a great deal different from what we've been advertising. You know we've been concerned about drought for awhile now, and with a budding La Niña , we remain pessimistic on many fronts when it comes to rain this summer, and moisture this fall. Here is the latest sea surface temperature anomaly forecast from the model. That is, where its forecasting above
Denver Forecast
Wet and, for some, a white late weekend still on track
Just wanted to update you all on the progress of our holiday weekend storm system. The following images show how much liquid and how much snow is expected from the different models. EURO Model GFS Model Canadian Model Obviously, the models have their own ideas on the finer details. However, they all agree on a chilly and wet storm system moving through most of the state from Sunday into Monday. Considering the precipitation deficit we are facing across the state, this is all obviously go