It’s going to be a busy weather week in Colorado. I feel like I’ve said that so much recently and for the most part, it’s a good thing but a little part of this is not good which is the CONTINUING high fire danger and wind. I’m so over the wind as I’m sure you are as well.
There’s a lot to talk about with this week’s weather in Colorado. The storm I mentioned last week that could bring Denver a healthy dosing of snow trended north and unfortunately, a northerly track strips the lower elevations of any moisture and instead, increases our winds and enhances the dryness. I.e more fire danger. With that said, the mountains will receive a fair amount of moisture which is good for them. Take a look at all the alerts that are in place on this Monday.
We have high wind alerts, fire alerts and winter alerts in place so let’s break them down by alert and type.
First, a quick look at why we have all of these alerts in place.
There’s a potent storm moving into the PNW and this is the culprit for the active weather incoming. This storm brought snow to Portland today which is the first time snow has ever been recorded during the month of April in the city. A pretty powerful, and cold, late-season storm. The red line denotes the direction that this storm will head.
Look at all of the alerts that have been issued ahead of this storm region-wide.
This storm means business. High winds, air quality issues, winter weather advisories, winter storm warnings, blizzard warnings, red flag warnings, freeze alerts, gale warnings, etc.
Let’s talk about what this means for Colorado.
HIGH FIRE DANGER
We’ve had many days over the last week that have featured high winds and fire danger but we have a few more days to go. High winds winds are expected Monday and Tuesday as the storm we are watching flies by to our north.
Unfortunately, because the location of this storm will be far to our north, dry air will be filtering in and will cause fire danger to stay elevated – possibly through Wednesday.
High winds – ugh – will stay with us this week. I don’t think we will be completely calm at any point although there will be periods of less wind, it will be a breezy week again. Here’s a look at daily max winds from now through Wednesday. Although Denver is not in any wind alerts, 15-30 mph winds are expected each day in the city.
Monday will bring the windiest weather to western Colorado. Up to 50 mph gusts may be felt there. You’ll notice all the bright colors on Tuesday. That is the day of the worst winds, especially along the eastern Plains. Up to 70 mph gusts may impact areas from Colorado Springs to Burlington to Pueblo to Springfield. Up to 90 mph winds will be possible in the Sangre De Cristos and the Wet Mountains of southern Colorado.
This may kick up more dust and cause more issues with visibility and obviously could cause major issues if fires erupt.
This storm will bring favorable winds to the mountains. On that note, it will be so windy in the mountains that travel will be extremely difficult at times. Up to 60+ mph winds will accompany this snow. Snow begins Monday evening and will continue through wednesday as varying intensities. Elevations above 9,000′ will get the most snow over a half-foot of snow is possible for most cities and towns above 6,000′.
Snow is likely down to valley floors with this storm. Grand Junction may see about an inch of snow. Durango could see a light coating as well as Pagosa Springs. Denver to Colorado Springs may even squeeze out a few flurries Tuesday to Wednesday but it won’t amount to much.
Snowpack numbers are healthy but a bit below where we’d like them to be. The incoming storm will help boost these numbers and will likely bring some basins back to average. This is good news because we have already past the peak snowpack season. So any boosts to our snowpack at this stage of the season is great news.
Snowpack looks to have peaked in late March across Colorado and although this storm moving in will be significant, it may not create enough of a increase to cause a late-peak. Regardless, it will be good news because we are running below or average snowpack for the date.
It’s going to be another busy and windy week in Colorado. We’ll clear out briefly as we head towards the weekend but more weather is expected lightly Saturday and Sunday.