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
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
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La Niña development update
A couple months ago, we were telling you that there was potential for a La Niña episode, before the year was done . While we were pretty sure about some of the signals, ENSO forecasting this time of year is always tough. Models struggle in the spring, and this is affectionately called the "spring predictability barrier". We've seen ENSO events show up in the modeling only to disappear as we enter into summer. Howe
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Long range update: May, June, July 2020
Before can look ahead, we have to look at where we've been. Precipitation-wise, it has definitely been about the "haves" and "have nots". Here is a look at the total precipitation anomaly in inches, during the last 90 days. California has been struggling mightily, until recently. At the same time, areas from Central Texas to Western Pennsylvania have been very wet... For Colorado, the southern part of the state has been drier than average. In fact, severe drought classification now grips many
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Big temperature change late weekend... some snow likely too
While the circumstances are less than ideal, I hope you have been getting outside lately. Why? Because our nice and warm weather is going to come to an end by late this weekend. While details are still pretty sketchy from a snow standpoint, the temperature change certainly looks to be a done deal...and it will be a sharp change. The maps below show that trend. Temperature 6 PM Saturday Temperature 6 AM Sunday Temperature 12 PM Sunday Temperature 6 PM Sunday Temperature 6 AM Monday Yep...t
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Late Week Storm?
After basking in the warmth and sunshine of today, it is usually inevitable that we see a stark change around the corner. After we get through another decent day tomorrow, despite there being more clouds, the changes take place on Thursday. EURO Model Precipitation and Temperature Forecast 6 AM Might be some fog and drizzle around the Northern Front Range to start the day on Thursday. However, with temperatures above freezing, there shouldn't be any problems. NOON Not much change through m
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Storm or no storm Sunday and Sunday Night?
So many questions regarding the upcoming POTENTIAL storm. Internally, we've been chatting about it all day, and we are not really any closer to a decision on what the storm will do. Which to be honest, isn't all that surprising given how the models have performed lately. Instead of belaboring that point, here is what we have been chatting about... Midday Sunday 700mb Low Position and Wind Field 3KM NAM 12KM NAM GFS EURO Look for the circulation across Southeast Colorado. Pretty craz
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Outlook for April through June, 2019
Last week, we talked about the current weak El Niño and how it may not only stick around but actually strengthen later this year . Now it is time to discuss a bit further what we think the next several months will hold. Soil Moisture Right now, most of the Plains are running at or above average when it comes to soil moisture. This is something we think will be key during the thunderstor
El Niño
El Niño Has Reestablished and Might Stick Around For Awhile
The weather we have experienced for the past several weeks lines up very well with what we thought winter would be like... a more active finish than start and middle. During the past 60 days, areas along the Palmer Divide / I-70 Corridor have benefited the most –– running well above average for precipitation during this time: Most areas of Colorado have received at least average moisture, with a few small exceptions. Mountain areas have also been doing well, especially the parched San Juans a
Southeast Colorado
Southeast Colorado Long Range Forecast, December 2018
As of right now, most of Southeast Colorado is experiencing some sort of dryness. The worst of it is located mainly west of a La Junta to Kim line. The past 90 days have been wetter than average for most of the area, with lesser moisture totals farther west. If nothing else, this has kept the drought from expanding eastward... El Niño Update We are still looking at El Niño conditions evolving across the Pacific Ocean. The maps below shows the evolution during the past few months on the oc
Northeast Colorado
Northeast Colorado Long Range Outlook, December 2018
As of right now, most of Northeast Colorado is drought free. Some "abnormally dry" areas showing up, but certainly nothing problematic. The past 90 days have either been average or slightly above average for precipitation. However, the wettest areas have been confined mainly along and south of I-70. El Niño Update We are still looking at El Niño conditions evolving across the Pacific Ocean. The maps below shows the evolution during the past few months on the ocean surface, as well as bene
High Plains
High Plains Long Range Outlook, December 2018
As of right now, most of the Plains are doing just fine in the moisture department. Parts of Colorado and North Dakota are doing the worst with the drought situation, but there really isn't anything widespread east of the mountains.. The past 90 days have either been average or slightly above average for precipitation. El Niño Update We are still looking at El Niño conditions evolving across the Pacific Ocean. The maps below shows the evolution during the past few months on the ocean surf