What is arguably one of the busiest weekends for outdoor activities of the year, Memorial Day weekend is approaching and the weather — well some of that is also approaching and the timing may not be what you’re hoping for.
A slow-moving trough that is forecast to move near our area by Friday and Saturday will situate itself over Colorado for Sunday and Monday bringing cooler temperatures and possibly widespread rain to the region just in time for the long holiday weekend.
According to the National Weather Service in Boulder, thunderstorms and rain showers are expected for both Saturday and Sunday afternoons with better coverage of rain and storms for Sunday afternoon through Monday night. Troughs, like the one that is approaching, are what brought us some much-needed rain over the last few weeks and if you remember those, they were associated with several days of cloudy and damp weather, making it feel like we lived in Seattle rather than Denver.
Friday looks to be a great day across the Mile High City as temperatures rise into the low 80s with mainly sunny skies forecast. There’s a slight chance for afternoon storms but nothing that is abnormal for an early Summer afternoon. Be on the lookout for lightning and thunder with small hail if a storm develops but the chance of seeing storms of that magnitude remain low but not zero. Skies will clear Friday evening leaving any travel plans or outdoor plans in the clear.
Saturday will start with plenty of sunshine and nice temperatures. Eventually, by the afternoon, clouds will begin to develop and rain showers and thunderstorms will erupt in the afternoon. The threat of severe weather remains low at this time for Saturday afternoon but as expected with any of our summer thunderstorms, heavy rain, gusty winds, small hail, and lightning can all be expected if a storm develops near your area. Highs will reach into the mid-70s on Saturday which is pretty typical for late May.
Showers and storms will be impacting the Foothills and recent burn scar areas as well (like Rocky Mountain National Park and Grand Lake) so if you have plans to travel into the mountains, be advised that storms could cause flash flooding in some areas. The threat for showers and storms will diminish as night falls but rain showers can’t be ruled out throughout the night.
Sunday will be another cloudy and possibly stormy day across the Denver metro area. The aforementioned trough will be inching closer and closer through the weekend meaning that cloud cover and rain chances will go up and up as the long weekend continues. Sunday comes with the threat of strong storms as well but due to the cloudy nature of the day and slightly cooler temperatures, strong storms won’t be as much of a threat as heavy rain could be. Flash flooding will become more of a concern throughout the day on Sunday and into Monday. Highs on Sunday are expected to reach into the upper 60s, below average for this time of the year.
The setup for the weather on Sunday and Monday will have an upslope component to it so heavier rain and storms will be more prominent across the Foothills and the west metro area. As Sunday night approaches the threat for thunderstorms will go down but rain chances will remain high and even likely for any evening plans you have.
Memorial Day Monday
Unfortunately, Monday looks to be wet and dreary across Denver and the surrounding areas. Showers are likely throughout the day and thanks to a cold front that will have moved through, temperatures will be cool for the afternoon hours. Highs on Memorial Day Monday in Denver will struggle to make it into the 60s — well below average for this time of the year. Due to the cooler temperatures, severe weather is not expected on Monday but with semi-continuous rain, some minor flooding could occur.
Showers and some thunderstorms will continue through the afternoon and evening and may even linger into Tuesday before we finally begin to clear out just in time for us to go back to work.
Overall, it’s looking to be an increasingly wet and cloudy Memorial Day Holiday weekend in Denver and the adjacent mountains. If you have plans elsewhere across Colorado, rain showers and thunderstorms are looking possible for much of the state this weekend so keep an eye on the skies and don’t underestimate Mother Nature. Seek shelter if you find yourself near a thunderstorm as lightning and flash flooding will be a concern across the state this weekend.
This weekend will conclude what was a very wet and cool May. Denver’s temperatures are running more than a degree cooler than normal for the month so far and the Mile High City has seen a surplus of more than an inch of rain this month. This weekend’s wet weather will further delay the start of the fire season and offset any impacts of the minor drought we have on this side of the Continental Divide.