I don’t know about you but when we crossed over into a New Year, I was very hopeful that our weather would miraculously shift and become better. Unfortunately, the drought, above-average temperatures and overall bad place that we are in weather-wise, has not changed.
The rest of this week is going to feature high winds and cooler temperatures.
The storm that is expected to bring us some high winds and some light snow is currently slamming the Pacific Northwest. This is bringing coastal areas of Oregon up to 8-10″ of rain and LOTS of mountain snow. By the time is reaches us, it will largely dry out but the energy will reach us and that will be in the form of wind and cooler temperatures.
Highs on Tuesday and Wednesday are running well above-normal. Highs will be close and may even eclipse 60º by Wednesday afternoon! By Thursday, highs will drop above 20º and we will return to blustery and cool weather that will last through the weekend.
The Red and Blue lines denote the average high and low temperatures that are normally expected this time of the year. Obviously, Tuesday and Wednesday stand out as the warm days so enjoy it, because it won’t last too long.
The Bigger Story is the Wind Coming
It’s wintertime in Colorado so cool, breezy days are not uncommon. The incoming wind event will be most prominent in the Foothills, mountain tops and along the Eastern Plains. The I-25 corridor will be gusty as best but may not see the consistent high winds that others will see.
As of right now (lunchtime of Tuesday), the Foothills and areas east of the Divide will see the worst of the winds. They could gust as high as 80 mph! Or more the higher up in elevation you go. Mind you, this wind warning is only through Wednesday and we may see more alerts as Thursday and Friday get closer.
If you’re not under a wind alert, IT WILL STILL BE GUSTY.
WEDNESDAY top wind gusts:
Mountains: 30-60 mph
Foothills: 50-80 mph
I-25 Corridor: 20-30 mph
Plains: 30-50 mph
THURSDAY top wind gusts:
Mountains: 30-50 mph
Foothills: 50-80 mph
I-25 Corridor: 20-40 mph
Plains: 30-60 mph
FRIDAY top wind gusts:
Mountains: 10-30 mph
Foothills: 30-60 mph
I-25 Corridor: 10-30 mph
Plains: 30-50 mph
What About Snow?!
Snow chances are in the forecast but they’re not too great. As the initial wave of wind blows through, it will bring some moisture with it. Mainly the Central and Northern mountains will reap the benefits of this in the form of 2-5″ of snow. The I-25 corridor and the Plains may see a burst of snow as the Bora cold front passes through but it shouldn’t amount to much but will be notable due to its dramatic change.
Long-term snow looks better for the mountains. A more-typical La Niña pattern will setup bringing small disturbance after small disturbance to the state. This pattern bodes well for the Central and Northern mountains and largely skips over the Plains and the Southern Mountains. We’ll have to watch for a few of these storms in the future but for now – look for some snow on the Plains (including Denver) Wednesday night – small amounts if any – and then again on Saturday where there could be some minor accumulations. The mountains will begin to see more consistent snow chances starting this weekend which is great news.
How’s the Drought and Snowpack?
It hasn’t gotten better.
The drought continues to grip the state. Most are in extreme drought and plenty of areas are in exceptional drought. This is going to take a massive weather shift to change this current course and it is just not in the forecast.
The snowpack we currently have mirrors that drought pretty well. The Upper Rio Grande is doing the best in the state because of early season snows but even that is starting to dwindle. The state, as a whole, is not doing well. There are several ski areas that don’t have all of their terrain open due to a lack of snow. That’s pretty telling for this time of the year.
Hopefully, the upcoming weather pattern will help change this but it’s not looking like a game-changer just a slowdown from the current dry pace we are on right now.
Temperatures are already creeping above-normal on the Eastern PLans and doing alright in most mountain locations. Not a great trend for the Eastern Plains (including Denver)
As far as precipitation is concerned, all of Colorado is lacking in the moisture department. Again, hopefully this changes a bit in the coming weeks but this is not a great start.
I’ll keep tracking the weather for everyone! Enjoy it, it’s the only weather we get.