Forecast Discussion:

The Nebraska storm forecasted yesterday (Tuesday) DID occur and even dropped a near-dawn tornado Wednesday morning. There was plenty of hail in that storm as well (Figure 1). The outflow did make it to the Front Range, but no storms formed here (except some very small midday cells north and south of Estes Park).

We continue to dry out today. The upper level ridge is now centered overhead (Figure 2) so the atmosphere is sinking, making thunderstorms more scarce. Precipitation over the next 48 hours is nearly zero on the northeastern plains of Colorado (Figure 3). The mountains and southern central regions of the state may see something. But not much.

We have a surface high in place as well today (Figure 4). Things are getting quiet.

Checking on last week’s drought index (Figure 5) dry conditions are creeping up from the southwest as we go longer and longer without widespread rain.

Figure 1: Radar image from iOS app RadarScope Pro. Longmont is the pink dot.
Figure 2: The 500mb forecast upper air analysis for Thursday PM. Pink dot is Longmont. Red lines are troughs, blue lines are ridges.
Figure 3: The total accumulated precipitation between Wednesday PM and Friday noon from the GFS and weather5280.com
Figure 4: The forecast surface map for Thursday PM. From NCEP.
Figure 5: the Colorado drought index map posted a week aga from NOAA NESDIS and NCEI.

The longer range forecast:

The ridge tilts over by the weekend (Figure 6) but we remain quite dry and very close to normal for temperatures all week. We are normally dry and around 89°F this time of year. That is what you’ll get!

Figure 6: The 500mb forecast upper air analysis for Sunday AM. Pink dot is Longmont. Red lines are troughs, blue lines are ridges.
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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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