It has been pretty quiet for a few days – just a few isolated cells were able to fire each day (but if you were under them, you knew it!). Most Front Range residents did not see measurable precipitation. The high pressure center that is running the show will jog to the distant southeast and open up tropical flow across Colorado again. Short waves coming from a trough on the west coast will also be able to aid in kicking off more organized storms. This wetter afternoon thunderstorm pattern will fade out early next week as the high becomes a big ridge across the southern U.S.
Figure 1 is a new-ish map that shows, not rigorous heights of the 500mb pressure level, but the flow of air in the upper atmosphere. The high near El Paso, TX is plain to see as is the flow northward on the western side of this persistent pressure system. The moisture (white and grey colors (+ pinks)) is flowing up into the Western U.S (Figure 2). The moisture over Colorado has been drifting around the deserts to our southwest for a couple of days (it has been ‘recycled so to speak).
We’ll still see very warm weather today (Wednesday – Figure 4) and only a marginal increase in afternoon storms. The chance of severe weather will remain over the northeast corner of Colorado (Figure 5). It isn’t too far away.
The longer range forecast:
By Thursday, the high center is located over Louisiana and there is better (but still not at record levels of) direct moisture flow from the Gulf of Mexico (Figure 3). Thursday will see our best chance of rainfall with weatherunerground models giving us less than 1/10th of an inch (unless we get a lucky direct hit – figure 4).
By Friday the high begins to inch back as a ridge builds back into Colorado (Figure 6). At the start of next week, there is a ridge to the south and overhead. That “recycled” moisture will still be around to create some afternoon storms, but nothing to write a book about.