In Brief:

After rain dumped on a few spots in Colorado Thursday PM, the upper level high reforms over the southwestern U.S. Moisture will still flow into the ridge, but at a lesser rate. Low level winds will return to a northwesterly direction drying things out a bit. We hover around the upper 80’sF and lower 90’sF until a (hinted) return of more moisture next week.

10am Update:

The severe weather predictions yesterday may have been a bit over-done – persistent clouds limited heating needed to push the plentiful moisture up into stronger storms. Still, there were some high wind and hail reports in NE Colorado (Figure 1 update). There is still some deeper moisture (almost 1 inch of precipitatable water) – but the drier air is beginning to flow in from the northwest (orange arrow in Figure 2 update).

Figure 1 update: storm reports to the SPC for Thursday 8/1 nationwide.
Figure 2 update: the water vapor satellite image (browns/reds are dry air, whites and light grey is moist air, purple/blue is ice and high cloud tops). From the the Weather Channel from Thursday.

End 10am Update.

Forecast Discussion:

There was ‘some’ excitement (thunderstorm-wise) across the state on Thursday (I’ll update with interesting storm reports Friday). As the upper level trough of Thursday passes, the high center will reform over the desert Southwest (Figure 2). Moisture will still be fairly abundant for the next few days (Figure 1). For Friday, the severe storm chances reside out in Kansas and Oklahoma, far to our east (Figure 3).

The Longer Range Forecast:

The high will jog towards our state Saturday tamping down the storms some more and warming us to the lower 90’sF – then moisture returns, temperatures drop a few degrees, and afternoon storms return (Figure 4).

Figure 1: the water vapor satellite image (browns/reds are dry air, whites and light grey is moist air, purple/blue is ice and high cloud tops). From the the Weather Channel from Thursday.
Figure 2: The 500mb forecast upper air analysis for Friday AM. Pink dot is Longmont. Red lines are troughs, blue lines are ridges.
Figure 3: The severe storm weather forecast for the U.S. from the Storm Predication Center in Norman, OK. Made Thursday for Friday.
Figure 4: the graphical forecast for the next 10 days for Longmont, CO from weatherunderground.com
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John Ensworth works from Longmont as the Principle Investigator for the NASA Science Mission Directorate Earth and space science education product review through the IGES (The Institute for Global Environmental Strategies – www.strategies.org) . He is in his 14th year running this review. He is an astronomer (from the 2nd grade onward) and became a meteorologist (in the 5th grade) when a thunderstorm in Arizona rained on his telescope when the weather service had only forecasted a 10% chance of rain. He has college degrees in physics and astronomy and climatology and a graduate degree in meteorology and earth science. He lectures at the Little Thompson Observatory in Berthoud, the Estes Park Memorial Observatory in Estes Park, and for a number of online universities. He built and runs a backyard observatory near Pace and 17th in northeast Longmont where he has lived for 8 years with his wife, daughter, son, and two cats. Invitations to open house nights at this observatory, LTO, and EPMO will be posted with future discussions when they are scheduled. Forecasting severe weather and snow amounts via text lead to this column. He began texting friends about the weather right after the September 2013 flood. The readers of this column will, hopefully, keep him honest in what he ‘thought’ he had forecasted for ‘the most recent’ storm.

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