It’s Just Smoke

For those keeping track, the air quality in SW Colorado is WORSE than in the Grand Valley.

Thursday 8:45 am

Yesterday, as I thought might be the case, the smoke capped the daytime heating and convection, leading to another boring weather day. The smoke in the upper atmosphere blocked out the sun and we were left in an hazy partial eclipse type of state.

I woke up this morning and read that a “Rare Weather Phenomenon” had occurred. Here is how you reach that conclusion. Large wildfires are rare. Wildfires create smoke. Smoky skies are rare. Large wildfires and volcanic eruptions often create pyrocumulus clouds (not Pyrocumulous clouds). Pyrocumulus clouds create thunderstorms. All thunderstorms eventually collapse causing outflow. It’s not rare, it’s just smoke.

It is smoky today but it is more pooled on the surface so we are likely to see more sunshine than yesterday.

Warm and dry conditions will continue for the next several days. There will be only a slight chance of storms each afternoon and they will be terrain driven high-heat based thunderstorms.

The first chance at a pattern change looks like it would be in about a week. At some point the ridge is going to break down and move east. I am still watching to see if some of hurricane Genevieve’s moisture will eventually be delivered to us. The GFS is leaning in that direction, the better equipped Euro is not so sure. If we do get a break and we see some tropical moisture work back into the picture it will be fighting with low and mid level dry air. It will take a significant push to overcome that dry air, if it is not significant it will erode and evaporate the moisture when it hits the ground.

I refer to this as feedback. Feedback works against or for storm development depending on the conditions we are experiencing. When we are in an extremely wet year the soils are saturated and the moisture is always present to evaporate into the air and be used as fuel to produce more precipitation. In dry years the soils are parched and heat is reflected off the ground causing drying in the surface layers and mid layer of the atmosphere, the drying evaporates the precipitation before it makes it to the ground in the lower to mid elevations.

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