Forecast Discussion:

Broken record time:  we remain dry, clear, unusually warm (record heat at some stations), but now get a bit of local smoke.

The trough remains far off to the west as we sit under the giant ridge’s western edge (Figure 1).  The ridge is squarely centered over Florence and is not helping that storm move in any direction for the next few days. There are almost no winds aloft over the SE U.S. Figure 2 is the surface map for later today with a surface high sitting over the state still. Hot and dry are the words.

We do have a few local fires that have begun. Smoke from those will begin to mar our beautiful blue skies and mountain views (Figure 3).  It doesn’t look choking thick, but you might smell it at times.

Figure 1: The 500mb upper air analysis for Thursday PM. Pink dot is Longmont. Red lines are troughs, blue lines are ridges.
Figure 2: The forecast surface map for Friday PM. From NCEP.
Figure 3: The HRRR (high resolution rapid refresh) model forecast of smoke at all levels for Friday PM.

The longer range discussion:

Very little changes through the weekend with summer heat still baking us.  It isn’t until Tuesday/Wednesday that the ridge collapses eastward and the west coast trough begins to approach us for our next big cool down and returning rain chances (Figure 4).  More tomorrow!

Figure 4: The 500mb forecast upper air analysis for next Wednesday AM next week. 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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