August. Has. Been. BRUTAL.
This is a look (up until August 25) of how the month has looked in terms of afternoon high temperatures. As of 8/25, we are currently sitting with an average temperature of 78.1ºF for the month. The warmest August that Denver has ever seen was back in 2011 when the average temperature was 77.0ºF. We are sitting over a full degree above that so even if the last few days of the month were below average, it would be hard to bring us down to a point where we weren’t in a top ranking spot. No bueno.
The heat has come with a large and in charge ridge of high pressure which has ept us hot and has largely kept a lot of the rain away. So far, we have seen less than a tenth of an inch of rain this month…
That has also led to extremely large wildfires to grow across Colorado. The Cameron Peak Fire shut down a portion of Rocky Mountain National Park, the Grizzly Creek Fire shut down a large section of I-70 for 2 weeks, the Williams Fork Fire was started by humans no completely putting out a campfire which led to an influx of smoke across the Denver Metro and the Pine Gulch Fire which is the second largest fire in Colorado’s history.
But things are changing?
For just a little while, we will get some reprieve from the nasty heat we’ve been feeling. That stubborn ridge I mention is finally beginning to break down which will allow for a wind shift and cooler air to enter the state. With these cold fronts, we could see some rain but the biggest beneficiaries of that moisture will largely be up in the mountains rather than down on the plains. Not bad news but not great news for the Front Range.
The incoming rain (and maybe some super high elevation snow – nothing to get excited about – but a sign of things changing!) will be confined to the mountainous areas where they could actually pick up some decent amounts!
Our best chances to see some rain will come Friday and Saturday and then again from Tuesday to Thursday of next week – again, with most rain looking likely in the higher terrain.
The GFS is pointing at some ‘cooler’ temperatures in coming for the last couple of days of August through the first couple of days of September. This is not significant but those 80s sure do look better than the constand 90s which you can see quickly return to the forecast.
The Euro (or ECMWF) is showing a little bit more longevity to the ‘cooler’ air but again, it’s really just knocking us back down to average. One this models do past the typical 5-7 days confidence timeframe is generalize temperatures to around the average for that time of the year which seems like what is happening here but nonetheless, I’ll take what it’s spitting out.
Finally, the national blend of models is exactly what it sounds like. A blend of all of the national models. This gives us a good idea of what all of the members are thinking which shows average to a few below-average days ahead for us – and a few cooler nights! Those lower 50s are going to feel AMAZING if it comes to fruition.
2020 has provided Denver with a staggering 65 days with temperatures at or above 90º. The average number of 90º days in a given year is 31…so we are clearly well above that threshold by more than double.
The year with the most 90º days was back in 2021 when there were 72 days with a reported temperature of 90º or higher. I’d argue that we have several more 90º days ahead of us and the possibility of us beating 2012 is there.
Let’s enjoy this ‘cooler’ weather while we can and just know that Fall is approaching. In fact, meteorological Fall begins on September 1! So, that’s something to look forward to.