Happy Meteorological Fall!
Well, I haven’t written too many big-time heat blogs this summer. It’s been a nice change of pace from what I wrote about over the last two summers but that has come to an end. You’ve probably heard of the mega heatwave impacting western US – well, we’re close enough to that ‘heat dome’ for impacts to be felt here.
West Coast Heatwave
Much of the state of Nevada and California will bake under an intense ridge of high pressure. Parts of California are bracing for a longterm heat wave with temperatures that will challenge all-time record highs for any time of the year. If you have any friends in these areas, might as well check in on them.
Places like Death Valley will see extreme temperatures (which isn’t uncommon for that area) but for this time of the year to have this extreme of heat…it’s a bit rare.
I mean…come on. Overnight lows in the mid-90s. Woof. Most populated areas around LA, Sacramento, Las Vegas with feel high temps in the 90s to low 110s.
We’ll be on the edge of this heat ridge (thankfully) but we’ll still be close enough for some impacts. The Climate Predication Center (CPC) is calling for the 6-10 day and the 8-14 day outlook to feature above normal temperatures and below average precip.
6-10 day forecast for September 5-9.
You’ll notice the large egg-shaped 80-90% blob over Nevada, California and Utah…Colorado is included within the higher-end categories of having above normal temps. All of Colorado is also under the “leaning below” average category for precipitation as well.
For the 8-14 day outlook which goes from September 7-13 – the forecast looks to continue hotter and drier than normal .
The main change here is that we may be bringing more ‘normal’ precip chances into western Colorado for this period.
Much of the state has seen warmer than normal temperatures this entire meteorological summer (June 1 through August 31).
Here’s a look at some of the forecast for some select cities in Colorado. Which all feature hotter than normal temps for the next 7 days.
For Denver – Number of 90º Days During the Hot Months Rising to Top Spot
Denver has been warm this summer more than anything. Through August we’ve had 57 days of 90º+ heat. The average is about 31 days per season….
With the forecast calling for the next 7 days of 90º+ heat, that number is going to rise quite a bit.
Let’s assume we see 90º heat for the next 7 days. That will in the #3 spot for most 90º days in a summer season. The possibility of us hitting the #2 or #1 spot is low/medium but definitely non-zero. The forecast for the rest of September and the the meteorological Fall season (which runs from September 1-November 30) is looking…..you guessed it….warm and dry.
The forecast for this long holiday weekend will be dry around Denver and the Front Range featuring nothing but sunny skies.
Extended Fall Forecast
The CPC puts out long range forecast periodically and though the accuracy of long term forecasts is not great, it does provide general guidance for what will possibly happen.
Here’s a look at how September may shape up by the end of the month.
We should end the month with normal precip. statewide. Temperatures will likely end a bit above average for the month.
For the entire Fall season…it’s looking rough.
Precip looks like it’ll be below average for the season and temperatures have a high likelihood of being above average.
With all of these extended forecast graphics, note that the deeper the color does not correlate to how much above or below average an area will be but it reflects the chance of temperatures or precipitation being above or below average.
So, for the fall season, Colorado has the highest chance of seeing above average temperatures for the season.
We know how fire season in not really a ‘season.’ So, although we’re heading into the ‘cooler’ months, it does not mean that we will not see drought deepen or the potential for wildfires to go away.
Here’s a quick update on the drought across Colorado.
On the above left image, you’ll see the current drought map as of August 30th. The above right image, it shows the change in drought status from the previous week. The Foothills west of Denver and the Western Slope has seen a 1-class drought improvement.
If we back up a bit and look at this entire summer season, it shows the story of how the summer has been regarding precip.
Many areas of southern Colorado have seen great improvements in their drought. Denver, Ft. Collins and NE Colorado have seen their drought deepen slightly through this summer. A lot of mumblings have been talking about how this has been a really wet summer and it defintely seems to be the case but in fact, this summer has delivered below normal precipitation to much of the state but the kicker is that the last couple of summers have been so dry that this summer has seemed abnormally wet comparatively.
Moral of the story here, it’s going to stay warm and dry for a while and that could spell some big issues this fall. As ski season approaches, lets hope snowmaking can start around normal and maybe we’ll see some decent early-season snows to kickstart the season.