A Chance of Storms

With the ridge of high pressure dominating our weather lately, there has not been a lot to talk about. Yesterday afternoon there was a little instability in the atmosphere. That led to a couple of brief storms that trickled a little bit of precipitation to the ground in a few isolated areas.

Today the ridge will move slightly and allow an uptick in moisture over a wider area. CAPE (available energy) will be elevated. I expect a few storms to develop over the mountains today and stay intact as they move off of the mountains. Keep an eye on the La Platas and Hermosa Wilderness after 11 am for storm development.

Maximum CAPE values occur between noon and 2 pm in La Plata and Montezuma County and 4 pm in Archuleta County.  By 6 pm today the CAPE briefly rises again, this may be a model error, we’ll see.

2 pm CAPE

nam-nest-conus-colorado-cape-6312000

Here are the maximum PWAT values. PWAT is the total amount of precipitation in inches that could possibly accumulate if you are lucky enough to be under a storm today. The PWAT values also peak at 2 pm today.

nam-nest-conus-colorado-pwat-6312000

Tomorrow looks similar to today. Nonsoon conditions (orographic driven thunderstorms not related to the Monsoonal flow) will continue. Monday and Tuesday look drier. Wednesday and Thursday the models are hinting that we may tap back into Monsoon moisture from the SW. I have not seen enough run to run consistency to feel warm and cozy about this, but I will be tracking it.

One final thought, it is August 1st. First flakes usually fall at or above 10,000′ by the third week of September. My latest run of the long term Euro weekly model already shows snow in Colorado’s northern mountains by Sept 14th.

ecmwf-weeklies-avg-west-snow_46day-0041600

I know, it’s not much but as I post this once or twice a week it will be fun to see these totals grow. I know the next question you will have is “what are you expecting for this Winter?” It is too early to tell but it looks a lot like a weak to moderate La Nina is setting up. El Nino and La Nina are not good predictors of our Winter in SW Colorado. Other parameters that accompany those conditions are more important to us.

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