Our hottest temperature of the year so far in Denver was 95º on Thursday and that was just an appetizer for what’s to come.

Ridges of high pressure are synonymous with clear skies and hot temperatures and a strengthening ridge of high pressure is forecast to slowly meander over our area through the weekend and into next week. High pressure causes air to sink and when air sinks, it compresses and warms up. The forecast as we head into the weekend and next week looks bleak as this ridge of high pressure sits and builds off of itself. All across the intermountain west, high heat is expected as temperatures will rise 10-25º above normal from Montana to Arizona. For Colorado, highs will yet again rise well into the 90s with 100s being possible during most of next week.

Starting Saturday, highs in Denver will rise into the lower 90s. By Monday, highs will be nearing 100º and that kind of heat will that through Thursday followed by the ridge breaking down and losing some of its strength resulting in our temperatures becoming less intense but still above-normal by next weekend. We typically see our first 100º day on July 14 but we have hit 100º numerous times in June but if we do hit 100º on Tuesday, as is forecast, it will be our earliest triple digit reading since 2013. With highs nearing or eclipsing 100º in Denver next week, multiple daily high temperature records may be tied or broken. The highest temperature ever recorded in Denver was 105º. The heat next week looks to cap out around 101º or 102º but the possibility of the high pressure coming in stronger is there which means that the current forecast could get a bit hotter.

Our friends out to the west in Grand Junction have an even more intense streak of heat expected. The city averages 2 to 3 days of 100º heat in June and between now and next weekend, Grand Junction may feel 6+ straight days of 100º heat. The record number of 100º days Grand Junction has ever felt in June was 9 days in 1974. Depending on just how long this dome of heat stays put, the city may overcome that number or come very close. Grand Junction is expected to rise over 100º on Saturday with the peak of the heat expected for midweek next week as temperatures rise to near 107º! The hottest temperature ever recorded during June in Grand Junction was 105º in 1990 and the hottest temperature ever recorded anytime of the year is 106º which happened in 2006. Both of these impressive records will possibly fall next week.

Something that has helped to limit the heat in Denver ever so slightly is the fact that our soils have a lot of moisture in them. When the rays of the sun hit the ground, the water within the soil begins to evaporate and evaporation slows the heating process. Unfortunately, when we are talking about heat of this intensity and duration, soil moisture can dry out very quickly leading to hotter temperatures. For places in Western Colorado, there is little to no moisture in the soils (hence the drought concerns) so all of the sun’s energy is going to go into heating the air and thus allowing temperatures to get hotter and hotter.

Heat safety is going to be very important to remember next week.

Tips to overcome the heat

  • First off, drinks lots of water
  • Avoid strenuous activities during the peak heat of the day
  • keeps pets indoors or provide plenty of water and shade
  • Never leave kids or pets unattended in your vehicle. Look before you lock
  • If you must work outside, drink plenty of water and take numerous breaks in the shade
  • Wear light clothing

With this kind of heat, fire danger will likely remain high and as fires, small and large, have already sparked in Colorado and neighboring Utah. We may expect additional fires to spark or current fires to grow spreading smoke into Colorado reducing the quality of our air at times.

Much of Colorado will be feeling this heat, even in the mountains as temperatures for mountain towns rise to 10-20º above normal. As mentioned, the heat looks the loosen its grip by the end of next week and into that weekend but temperatures, though cooler than the triple digits, will still be above-average for this time of the year. Precipitation chances look less than stellar for this entire period as well. A few heat induced storms are possible on the Eastern Plains Saturday and Sunday and then a few mountain showers and storms look possible for midweek next week though getting any type of appreciable moisture is looking like a daunting task.

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