Friday Outlook

The High-Resolution models are not painting as active of afternoon as yesterday. However, CAPE values north of Hermosa are high enough to suggest we may get a few more lightning strikes. Here are the max CAPE values today, once again occurring between noon and 1 pm.

Noon to one today.

626Nooncape

For comparison here are yesterday’s max values.

Noon to one yesterday.

capenoon

The biggest difference is that today the model shows all of the action further north.

Early indications show a more active day tomorrow.

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Weekend Outlook And the Saharan Dust Hype

A couple of mainly dry based storms have been firing up today. Mostly in the higher elevations, I am not seeing a lot of wet pavement up there. This will continue throughout the afternoon. CAPE is already at peak values for the day, here it is between noon and 1 pm.

capenoon

The model shows the values slowly falling throughout the afternoon. Then it shows a mysteriously retrograding storm in Archuleta county around 10 pm. It could be a model error, but I thought I would give you a heads up.

10 pm 2860 in Pagosa!

10pmcape

If someone over there could let me know tomorrow if that came together that would be great, just click the contact button.

This is going to be the main story for the next few days, a chance of mainly dry thunderstorms with little to no precipitation. Not fun.

Here are the precipitation accumulation forecasts for the next 4 days.

Canadian

can96

Euro

euro96

GFS

gfs96

The models diverge a bit after this, so I am not comfortable with the data past this time.

I will do brief updates on the CAPE forecasts tomorrow and this weekend. For those planning on traveling or have activities planned for July 4th weekend, you can email me and I will start covering that on Monday.

Now, onto a subject that I have been getting the most questions on, Saharan dust! Who’d a thunk it? For some reason, the media, especially the Weather media have been talking non-stop about this non-event.

Saharan dust dispersion happens every year, it always has and always will. It is no worse this year than it has ever been. NASA is the expert on this. The last study I am aware of them doing was in 2015 when they concluded that on average, 182 million tons of dust each year are scooped up by winds and sent toward the Western Hemisphere, equivalent to 689,290 semi-trucks filled with dust.

Here is the positioning of the dust cloud.

dust

Yes, the super dry air does suppress tropical development in the Atlantic Basin. But you have to remember the “Hurricane Season” used to start August 15th. For all intents and purposes, it still does. 80% of the activity in the Atlantic Basin occurs after August 15th. The difference is that today the criteria they use to name a storm is much less stringent than it even was a decade ago. They didn’t use to “name” Tropical Depressions like they do now.

Here is the Saharan dust dispersion forecast for the next 10 days. What is unusual is the gaps in between the plumes indicating above-average tropical moisture in those areas.

nasa-geos-all-exatl-dust-1593043200-1593043200-1593907200-20

As I said Saharan dust does suppress tropical development, but this early in the season tropical development is low anyway.

Thanks for following! I will update you throughout the weekend. I am running my fire detection data several times per day and will post if I see anything of concern.

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Monday Fire And Weather Updates

Last I heard there was 79% containment on East Canyon. They did scan the fire last night as you can see no new growth to report and really very few hotspots.

Infrared.

20200622_EastCanyon_IR_Topo

Operational.

OPS_06222020

Sand Creek fire is estimated at 60 acres, all of the fire growth in the last 24 hours has been on the Northside of the fire based on satellite data.

As I said yesterday the weather, for the most part, looks warm and dry this week. The best chance for afternoon storms will be in high altitude locations. Mid to late a week a system will pass well to the north of us, as it does the pressure gradient will tighten and increase the winds. In its wake, the atmosphere will become unstable and we may see a chance for some light showers on Friday. Too early to tell how that is going to work out. I will have an eye on it all week.

The new Euro long-range model run will be out late tonight/early tomorrow. I will be checking it out to see how consistent it is to the last run. Having studied the data a little more, I have noticed it loses consistency after 14 days.

Thanks for following. Please contact me with any new sightings of smoke plumes.

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Hot And Dry Conditions Persist

The East Canyon fire was 53% contained as of last night. To the best of my knowledge, a scan was not even ordered. The winds were extremely cooperative this week and the team made excellent progress very quickly.

All week I have been watching what has now been named the Sand Creek fire. It showed up on VIIRS satellite detection on Monday. I didn’t talk about it because it wasn’t growing and it is in a very isolated area of south-central Hinsdale County 21 miles northwest of Pagosa. In the last couple of days, the fire grew to over 50 acres and a type 3 team is taking over.

Here are a couple of satellite maps to orient you on its location.

pgosc

scvall

sand creek

I used Vallecito and Pagosa only to show you the location. At this point, the fire poses no risk to either area, and it is highly unlikely it will.

Hot and dry conditions will be the story for quite a while. The only chance for a little rain will be over the highest peaks generally above 11,000 feet.

Here is an extended look at our temperatures and precipitation. If you have followed me through a winter, you know that I usually only use long term models to look for trends, not predict accurate totals. My other caveat is that the last couple of years has shown the Euro model to have a warm bias in its long terms runs. Unfortunately, it is the best source I have. The US equivalent model the CFSv2 is very inconsistent and unreliable for nearly any purpose.

Here are the 7-day temperature anomalies showing above-average temperatures.

7daytemps

Here are the 10-day precipitation anomalies showing below-average precipitation.

euro10day

Here are the 32-day temperature anomalies.

32daytemps

Here are the 32-day precipitation anomalies.

32dayprecip

Here are the 46-day temperature anomalies.

euro46daytemps

Here are the 46-day precipitation anomalies.

46day

As I said earlier I use this long-term model to spot trends. There are two model runs per week, even though this model is better than its US counterpart it has problems of its own, namely the warm bias I mentioned. When I zoom this out to national look you can see the discrepancies for temperatures in the midwest from the previous run to the latest.

Previous run 7-day temperature anomaly June 21st-28th.

ecmwf_weeklies_avg_conus_t2m_f_anom_7day_3388800_1

Latest run 7-day temperature anomaly June 21st-28th.

ecmwf_weeklies_avg_conus_t2m_f_anom_7day_3388800(2)

That is a 7-10 degree temperature correction in the midwest region in one model run. This shows how difficult long term forecasting can be.

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East Canyon Saturday Morning Update

Only 5 new acres, here is what the interpreter said about that: The 5 Acre perimeter growth was associated with a few small adjustments to the eastern perimeter to include a 4 acre pocket on the very southeast perimeter that had not been included in previous interpretations and showed heat tonight.”

There were no areas of intense heat.

As you can see on the Google map, only a couple of pockets of scattered heat (in yellow).

GoogleCapture

Topo

20200620_EastCanyon_IR_Topo

Operational

OPS_06202020

As of 10 pm containment was 21%. The black lines that look like an X are fire lines.

Winds today look light and erratic this morning transitioning to mostly westerly (zonal) flow this afternoon.

There is very little weather to talk about. But I will do a long-range outlook on Sunday.

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Friday Afternoon Update

This afternoon was convectively active. Prior to that, I was contacted about graupel at 9 am on the Engineer hike.

Lots of lightning everywhere. Here were the strikes from my lightning detection program through 4:45 pm in the lower and mid-elevations.

midcountylight

That is Vallecito at the bottom left.

Moving north…

ncounty

Fortunately, VIIRS has not identified fires. That being said the Canyon fire was likely struck 18 hours before the fire was reported. They smolder and wait for the wind.

Thanks for following, same plan tomorrow, early fire update then weather update around 9 am.

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Friday Weather Outlook

The models are still insistent in bringing a chance of high altitude precipitation this afternoon with maximum CAPE values occurring around noon today. As I said earlier, I don’t think it would translate to any precipitation below 10,000 feet. Here are the predicted CAPE values for noon today.

namnooncape

For comparison’s sake, I looked back at the CAPE value during the period that the lightning strike occurred leading to the East Canyon fire and it was around 1300. While we are not going to see values anywhere near that in most areas, 400 is the number that is usually the minimum that I look at for convective activity.

The models are looking for that energy to move across the state and unsettle the atmosphere between noon and 3pm. Here are the models’ depictions for that time period. Green is rain, blue is snow, the darker the color the higher the likelihood that the precipitation will reach the ground rather than evaporate.

Euro (medium-resolution)

euro21z

GFS (low-resolution)

gfs21z

NAM3km (highest-resolution)

nam3km21z

Whenever I look at a CAPE forecast I have to compare it to the cloud cover percentage forecast. CAPE is affected by surface heating, and cloud cover affects surface heating.

Here was the cloud cover percentage forecast for 9 am.

nam-nest-conus-colorado-total_cloud-2578800

A quick look out the window shows this is not going to verify for 9am, therefore there may be a problem with the CAPE forecast. Not a guarantee but hopefully the CAPE forecast doesn’t verify, because any thunderstorms that do pop will be dry in most areas. A dry thunderstorm is a thunderstorm that has winds and lightning and any precipitation that develops evaporates before it hits the ground (virga).

If you hear some thunder this afternoon, click the contact button and let me know where. My MODIS and VIIRS satellite feed can detect a fire start usually within 3 hours or less of when it strikes.

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Friday Morning Update East Canyon 2900 Acres

The weather has been extremely cooperative in putting this fire down. Only 40 acres of growth with 17% containment. The new growth is probably associated with burnout operations to strengthen the containment on the southern end. The interpreter noted that there was much less heat of any type (isolated, scattered, or intense) showing up in last night’s scan.

Here is the Google map.

Googlemap

Here is the topo map.

Topo1

And here is the operational map. If you look at the southern end you can see how much progress has been made in containment. The legend is on the bottom of the map.

OPS_06192020

Considering how dry it is I don’t think we could possibly hope for a better situation with this fire.

Thanks for following, I will take another look at the weather conditions for today and post before 9 am.

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A Chance Of Convection Friday, Then Dry Conditions Continue

The “cold” front moved through most of the state overnight. The main trough associated with it is now in far northwest Colorado and is forecasted to move east through the state tomorrow. As the energy with the trough moves east, it could spark off some convection in the area. Mostly dry thunderstorms below 10,000 feet. While I expect most of the action to be north of Electra Lake, I am already starting to see some higher CAPE values in the lower elevations from Mancos to Pagosa, and south to the NM border.

Tomorrow morning, CAPE will be the first thing I will look at and I will post a weather update after the morning fire update. The fire update will be out early and the weather update out will between 8-9 pm.

I still don’t see any real precipitation in the lower and mid-elevations before July. Here are the ensemble models for the 51 member Euro family, and the 21 member GFS family between now and July 3rd.

GFS

gfs-ensemble-all-avg-swus-total_precip_inch-3864000

That is .21″ for DRO

Euro

ecmwf-ensemble-c00-swus-total_precip_inch-3777600

That is .03 for Cortez and 0 for DRO. Both of these models show the monsoon is absent for the next two weeks even in southern AZ and NM.

 

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