Mike's Weather Blog -- July 2007

July 30, 2007 -- Fort Collins Flood - Ten Years Ago

It is amazing how time flies! It has now been a decade since the massive and tragic flooding in Fort Collins. Here is a look back ten years ago...

The first half of the summer of 1997 was very hot and dry over eastern Colorado. Concern was mounting about drought conditions and fire danger through the first two weeks of July. At the same time, a massive El Nino event was building in the central Pacific Ocean. This warm water anomaly usually manifests itself in the form of unusual winter weather. In 1997, the El Nino was so strong it began to affect the summertime weather patterns as well. By late July, Colorado begins to come under the influence of moist southerly wind pattern that brings humid air into the state. This is the so-called “monsoon flow” that creates most of the mid to late summer thunderstorm activity in the state. The immense heat and moisture from El Nino added fuel to the summer monsoon in Colorado.

From late July through mid August, rains fell on almost a daily basis. Many areas received over eight inches of rain in just a three to four week period. That amount is equal to about half of the average annual total for most places in eastern Colorado. On the night of July 28th, a small, but nearly stationary thunderstorm began to dump heavy rains on the southwest side of Fort Collins. This storm did not look like anything special on radar, but very light winds aloft allowed in to stay parked over the same area for several hours. According to Colorado State Climatologist Nolan Doesken, “The storm that caused this flood delivered the heaviest rain over an urban area that has been recorded in Colorado. Fourteen inches of rain were recorded in one day at the heaviest point in the storm.” The heavy rain fell over a narrow drainage basin that passed under a railroad bridge. Unfortunately, the railroad bed acted as a dam for the rising water, which could not flow quickly enough through the opening under the bridge. When the railroad bed finally gave way to the tremendous pressure of the water, a giant wall of water swept into a nearby mobile home park. The result was both eerie and tragic. Flood waters mixed with flames as the trailers were floated off their foundations and gas lines ruptured and caught fire. Rescuers struggled amidst the flames and screams to try to get people out of their homes.

Despite their valiant efforts, six people died in the flood. In addition, 200 million dollars in damage was reported on the Colorado State University campus as a result of the flooding. Thousands of valuable books were lost as the floodwaters poured into the basement of one of the campus libraries.

The following night, as eastern Colorado was still reeling from the events of the past twenty-four hours, another massive flood hit on the northeast plains. Pawnee Creek, near Sterling flooded a large area of Logan County, wiping out many areas of crops and damaging homes. According to Nolan Doesken, “This was a bigger storm than the one that flooded Fort Collins the day before and it was a companion to that storm. Thirteen inches of rain fell at the storm’s center on the evening of July 29, 1997. This happened northeast of Fort Collins, near Stoneham. When a storm like this hits Boulder or Colorado Springs, it will not be a pretty sight.”

Fortunately, the weather pattern 10 years later does not portend anything like the severe flooding of 1997. There will be a few thunderstorms developing this afternoon, but conditions do not appear favorab;e for heavy rainfall over the Front Range today.

July 27 2007 -- Flash Flooding on the Front Range

Thunderstorms developed again today as moist air continues to cover Colorado. Due to the weak winds in the atmosphere, the storms have been slow moving or nearly stationary, and have produced very heavy rain in a short period of time. A Flash Flood Watch remains in effect for much of north central and eastern Colorado for this evening.

The thunderstorms are heavy rain makers, but don't bring much potential for large hail or damaging winds. The conditions aloft are not favorable for hail or tornadoes. This is the peak time of the summer for flooding to be a threat. We are nearing the 10th anniversary of the deadly Fort Collins Flood and the damaging flooding in the Sterling area.

We will hope the current rounds of storms will not bring a repeat of the tragic storms of 10 years ago. Nonetheless, stay up to date on the latest weather right here on TheDenverChannel.com.

July 26 2007 - Cooler With Some Soggy Storms

A cold front slipped into northern Colorado Thursday morning and brought some relief from the heat as well as some much needed rain to the Front Range. The storms that developed on Thursday did not produce widespread heavy rain, but there is another chance for stormy weather on Friday. Thunderstorms are expected to develop this again Friday along the foothills as moist easterly upslope flow increases. Due to the weak winds in the atmosphere, the storms will be slow moving or nearly stationary, and could produce very heavy rain in a short period of time.

The Hayman Burn Area of Douglas and southern Jefferson Counties will be the most susceptible to flash flooding, with the potential for rock and mud slides. A flash flood watch means that flash flooding is possible, but not imminent, within the watch area. People in a watch area should keep an eye on the weather and be prepared for immediate action should heavy rains and flash flooding occur, or If a flash flood warning is issued.

Some of these slow moving storms will bring rainfall of an inch or two in an hour, so if your lawn or graden gets under one of these super soakers, you can shut off the watering system for a few days. The winds aloft are weak and the upper level temperatures are fairly warm, this means the odds of severe weather - large hail or tornadoes - is low today. Most of the storms will just be noisy, lots of precipitation.

Saturday will feature an encore performance of slow moving afternoon and evening storms, with highs just in the low 80s. By Saturday, the air will begin to warm again, but storms are still a good bet. Sunday and Monday will bring us back into the 90s, with only a slight chance for any storms.

July 25 2007 - The Hot Weather Will Take A Break!

One more really hot one today and then relief for tomorrow and Friday! The recent spell of ninety degree days is just about over. A cold front will slide into the state tonight and bring some much anticipiated relief for tomorrow and Friday. The front is now over northwestern Wyoming and will slowly slide our way late this afternoon and move across the eastern plains by Thursday morning. Highs today will again be in the upper 90s to low 100s on the eastern plains, with 80s in the mountains. Tomorrow will be 10-15 degrees cooler, with a better chance for showers and thunderstorms.

Tonight, as the front continues to move into the region, storms will increase along the foothills and mountains. Slow moving storms are already dropping large amounts of rain in the mountains, increasing the risk for flash flooding. Most of the activity will remain in the mountains, with a few storms dropping down to the foothills. Thursday, however, will be a different. Increased moisture brought in by the front will increase our chances for storms, even in the Metro Area. Look for cooler temperatures and a good chance for rain tomorrow.

The cooldown will not last too long though - only through Friday, before things begin to heat back up over the weekend into early next week. Nonetheless, enjoy the cooling trend and perhaps your lawn or garden will be the lucky recipient of some heavy showers. The official rainfall tally at DIA has measured a mere .07 inches of rain for July - we really need some rain.

July 24 2007 - The Heatwave Is Almost Over!

The next two days will stay on the hot side, but some relief is coming by Thursday. Temperatures will top out in the mid to upper 90s again today and tomorrow, followed by cooler conditions and a chance for rain by the end of the week. The overall weather pattern today remains little changed from the weekend - a large ridge of high pressure in the upper atmosphere is blocking any major changes in the weather over Colorado. The winds aloft are actually so light that there is a slight east to west wind at about 25,000 feet - the opposite direction from normal. Thunderstorms yesterday drifted from the foothills back to the west across the mountains. This pattern will hold again today, but there are some changes coming starting tomorrow.

The upper level wind pattern will begin to shift on Wednesday as the winds at the jetstream level increase over the northern Rockies and will blow down from the Pacific Northwest across the region. This shift in the upper level pattern will push a moderately strong cold front into the state by early Thursday morning. The cooler air behind the front will have higher humidity and that will increase the chances for thunderstorms Thursday through Saturday.

The temperatures will dip back into the 80s for highs, at least through Saturday. By Sunday and early next week, the hotter and drier pattern will regain control and the weather will begin to heat up once again. But at least there is a little break coming our way. We need a change, officially July 2007 is running nearly 4 degree above normal, with a scant .07 inches of rainfall - over an inch and a half too dry!

Until the heat does break, if you are looking for interesting reading to keep you inside and cool, check out our various blogs on TheDenverChannel.com. This summer at 7News, we have been delighted to host three exceptional young women who are working on their meteorology degrees. Hallie, Lisa and Ava have been interning in the 24/7 Weather Center for the past two months. They are getting ready to head back to school in just a couple weeks, but if you have wondered what it's like to work in the 24/7 Weather Center? Click here to get an inside look from our three interns as they have been blogging about their experiences over the summer.

July 23 2007 - The Sizzle Will Stick Around!

The weekend was a scorcher with high temperatures in the high 90s both Saturday and Sunday. To date, July is averaging 3.5 degrees warmer than normal, with very little rain. A few lucky lawns and gardens did get a good shower on Saturday, with a couple of reports in excess of an inch over Aurora, but most places missed the big rains.

We could sure use some super soakers as the official rainfall tally for Denver in July has been a scant .07 inches. In fact, the National Westher Service rain gauge at DIA has reported just over a half inch of total rainfall since June 1st - that is over two inches below normal.

The overall weather pattern will remain hot and dry over the next 5 days, with highs expected to be in the mid to upper 90s through the rest of the week. There may be a little bit more moisture working into the state by Saturday and Sunday - perhaps the beginning of the much anticipated "monsoon flow" that typically gets into gear in late July and early August. This annual flow of higher humidity begins over northern Mexico and brings showers and storms to Arizona and then eventually into Colorado. To date, the big bubble of hot and dry air over the western U.S. has suppressed the monsoon from developing, but we are hopeful that it will get into gear pretty soon.

July 21 2007 - Hot and Dry for the Weekend

The past few days have brought a bit of a break from the heat to Colorado with the passing of a cold front. This weekend we are going back to our warm, wicked ways. Temperatures will rise back up into the mid 90s to near 100 and the air is going to dry out. There is a small chance of some isolated thunderstorms over the foothills but these storms are not likely to become severe or last very long.

After the weekend, the temperatures will remain hot, but precipitation chances will creep up a little. We are hoping to see the first stages of the monsoon flow, that each summer increases afternoon storms and precipitation. Usually Colorado experiences this flow in the last part of July into the beginning of August. This flow is caused when an area of high pressure develops in the upper atmosphere creating a southerly wind flow aloft and pulling moisture in over Mexico from both the Pacific and the Gulf. Flash flooding and damaging winds become the issue at hand, compared to droughts and fires, which we have been dealing with since the beginning of the summer. This should be a nice chance to look forward to, but for for now - the story continues to be dry and hot!

July 19 2007 - A Nice Change of Pace

A cold front slid into eastern Colorado early this morning and will bring us a very pleasant break from the heat and haze of the last week. High temperatures will be a good 15 degrees cooler today, with morning clouds giving way to some midday sunshine and then some afternoon and evening thunderstorms. The most likely area to receive rain will be along and west of I-25 and south of Denver this afternoon. The air over northeastern Colorado will likely stay too cool and stable for storms to develop east of a line from Fort Morgan to Limon.

The storms that do form today will be rather pedestrian in pace, so the slow movers will drop locally heavy rains. Many counties in central Colorado were put under a Flash Flood Watch, which lasts until 11 p.m. As storms continue to develop and drop rain, some counties could be put under a Flash Flood Warning. Teller County was already under a flood warning and Custer County is under a Flash Flood Warning until 5:45 p.m.

As storms continue to develop, more areas could be put under flood warnings. If you are traveling down a street with standing water, think of the National Weather Service's helpful phrase: "Turn around. Don't Drown." Flowing water can be more powerful than you'd think, even if it isn't very deep.

The cooling trend will hardly be here before it starts to move on. By tomorrow the cool air will ebb away from the mountains and slide east across the plains. By Saturday, the entire state will be back to our warm and wicked ways as the highs return to the mid 90s, with near 100 degree readings expected by Sunday. The hot weather will continue next week, but there should be some scattered thunderstorms popping back up again by Tuesday and Wednesday.

July 18 2007 - A Change is in Store for Tomorrow

Temperatures rocketed back to the triple digits again on Tuesday, with our third 100 degree day of the summer so far. Today will be another scorcher as highs rise into the upper 90s. Storms are expected to develop over the afternoon in the mountains, but none of these storms are expected to become severe. This afternoon, the metro area will experience increasing dark clouds but very little precipitation. We do have some brief relief coming from this most recent hot spell though, a cold front will slip into northeastern Colorado tonight and slide across the eastern plains early Thursday.

Behind this front the air will be quite a bit cooler! High temperatures on Thursday will only reach the mid to upper 80s over eastern Colorado. The cooler air will not make it over the mountains, so western Colorado will stay hot, with highs in the upper 90s around Grand Junction.

The cooler air will also bring higher humidity, so there is a very good chance for showers and thunderstorms over eastern Colorado on Thursday, with some heavy downpours expected along the I-25 Corridor Thursday afternoon and evening. Over the mountains and western sections of the state, the rains will be more spotty both today and tomorrow. The heat will not be held off for long, as the cold front will reverse field and head back out of Colorado starting Friday. Warmer and drier conditions will return to the state, with temperatures cranking back up into the mid to upper 90s for the weekend.

July 17 2007 - Hot Streak Steams On

The scorching weather pattern will continue over Colorado for the rest of the week. A large ridge in the upper atmopshere is keeping the entire western half of the country in it's grip. This type of jetstream pattern basically puts a lid on any mmajor weather changes as the strongest flow aloft - the storm track - has drifted way up into southern Canada. The flow aloft then cruises down across the Great Lakes states and on over New England. Those parts of the nation are getting some cold fronts and rain, along with cooler temperatures.

Back here in the west, we are stuck under a big bubble of hot, fairly stagnant air. There is just a little moisture available to fire off some widely scattered afternoon storms in the mountains and foothills, but little action is expected on the eastern plains. This overall weather pattern is not expected to change at least through next Sunday.

The record high for July 17th in Denver is 101, set in 1971. We will come close to that today, with the high expected to peak in the 98 to 100 degree range. With the hot temperature, the low level ozone has been exceeding federal standards. Please help to keep the pollution levels a little lower by car pooling or using mass transit, aviod fueling during the heat of the day, and just let the lawn go for a few days - in this heat mowing it is tough on the grass.

Remember, TheDenverChannel.com is "The Best Local Weather on the Web" and we offer many great features that you will not find anywhere else. You can preview the upcoming weather by checking our exclusive "FutureCast". Check it out by clicking here Futurecast and for the latest radar images click Colorado Doppler Radar to keep up to speed on what may shape up during our often active summer afternoons and evenings.

July 16 2007 - A Hot Week on the Way

More torrid temperatures are in store for Colorado over the next 5 to 7 days. A large ridge in the upper atmosphere - a big bubble of hot, dry air - has formed over the western half of the nation. The main storm track is well to the north of Colorado and will keep any cold fronts from slding into the area through the upcoming weekend. Today we will hit near 100 degrees, but fall short of the record for July 16th. Just last year, we soared to the all-time record of 103 degrees!

There will be just a touch of moisture swirling around the mid levels of the atmosphere - about 15,000 feet above us, and that will allow a few late afternoon thunderstorms to develop over the next few days. These type of storms are usually high based, meaning that there will be a lot of dry air underneath them and much of the rain will evaporate before reaching the ground. This type of precipitation is called "virga" and when you see those tattered looking cloud bases under a thunderstorm, you can expect gusty winds and lightning, but little moisture. The overall weather pattern will change little right into this upcoming weekend.

With the skies being mostly clear tonight, it's going to be a great night to do some star gazing. Tonight, slightly to the right of the moon there will be a clear visible view of the planet Saturn. Slightly to the left of the moon the bright star that can be seen is actually the planet Venus. These planets will be visible about one hour after sunset. These planets will still be visible tomorrow night except both located to the left of the moon.

July 13 2007 - Warm and Dry for the Weekend Ahead

The past few days have brought quite a bit of moisture to Colorado with the passing of the cold front. This weekend is going to be a different story. Temperatures will rise back up into the mid 90s and the air is going to dry out. There is a small chance of some isolated thunderstorms over the foothills but these storms are not likely to become severe or last very long.

After the weekend, the temperatures will remain hot, but precipitation chances will increase. We are beginning to see the first stages of the monsoon flow. This flow will increase storms and precipitation. Usually Colorado experiences this flow in the last part of July into the beginning of August. This flow is caused when an area of high pressure develops in the upper atmosphere creating a southerly to southeasterly wind flow aloft. Flash flooding and damaging winds become the issue at hand, compared to droughts and fires, which we have been dealing with since the beginning of the summer. This should be a nice chance to look forward to, but until then, the story continues to be dry and hot for the weekend!

July 13 2007 - Warmer for the Weekend

After a very busy Thursday, with plenty of showers and thunderstorms scattered over the eastern plains, today will start a warming and drying trend that will last into early next week. The stormy weather yesterday was sparked by a weak front that was stalled over the Front Range - separating drier air to the west, from humid conditions on the eastern plains. Today that front is easing away from the foothills and will move on to the east over the next 24 hours. The warmer and drier air will gradually take over Colorado through the weekend. High temperatures will be climbing into the mid 80s today, low 90s tomorrow and mid 90s on Sunday. The rain chances will be in the 20% range this afternoon, but drop but to 10% or less for Saturday and Sunday.

By early next week, the weather will stay hot, but there may be just a subtle increase in moisture from the southwest. This moisture appears to be the first fledgling signs of the annual "monsoon flow" of humidity from the Pacific that brings Colorado the slow moving afternoon thunderstorms of late July and August. Let's hope that comes to pass, as we could really use some good soaking storms in many areas.

July 12 2007 - Under Some Thunder!

Thursday ended up being another very active afternoon and evening over eastern Colorado. A strong line of thunderstorms erupted across southeastern Wyoming in the early afternoon and rumbled slowly to the south and east into the evening. There was a brief tornado touchdown reported by law enforcement near Ault in Weld County. That tiny twister touched down about 3:45 PM and only lasted about 5 minutes. Elsewhere, huge hailstones pummeled parts of Morgan County about 4:40 PM, with golfball to baseball sized hail reported near Snyder and Sussex.

The storms will remain pretty potent until about Midnight across the eastern plains, with the main line of really nasty storms out in Kit Carson County - heading toward Burlington. Later tonight the weather will mellow out a little, as the storms die down after Midnight. Friday will be a touch warmer, with a slight chance for afternoon storms, but not as many as today.

The weather should turn hot and dry over the weekend, with highs returning to the mid 90s by Sunday. Early next week will stay hot, but a slight increase in moisture will bring back a chance for showers and thunderstorms by Monday and Tuesday.

July 11 2007 - Some Good Things to Learn!

The summer so far has been split between too little water and too much. Many areas of Colorado are way too dry, while a few others have dealt with severe thunderstorms and even some flash flooding. In that light, here is a fun event that you and your family may want to attend. On July 14th from 10 AM to 4 PM, The Wildlife Experience will host a Xeriscaping Expo. Explore the importance of environmentally conscious landscaping and it's best practices in Colorado. The activities will include workshops and presentations, water saving tips, local nursery and hardware representatives, a tour of the museum's nature trail and a prize raffle!

Master gardeners and CSU Extension experts will exhibit proper irrigation and landscape design.

The Parker Water and Sanitation District will have a display called Xeriscape vs Zeroscape - Alternatives to Rock and Cactus.

Woodman Brothers Landscaping will have a booth and presentation entitled "Boulders in the Landscape"

The event is free and will be held at the beautiful Wildlife Experience Museum located at Lincoln and Peoria - just south of I-25

On the flip side of dry weather is the extreme rain events that can bring flash flooding to Colorado in July and August. The Denver Public Works Wastewater Management District reminds us that taking a little time to clean up your neighborhood street can pay big dividends when the big rains fall. Here are some tips to help keep your street from flooding.

Most of Denver's storms hit in the late afternoon and evening - please put full recycling and trash containers out early in the morning on the day of your recycling and trash pick-up or late the night before. If left out all day, trash and recycling containers can overturn or float away and clog critical storm drains.

When heavy rain is forecast, place trash and recycling at the end of your driveway, close to, but not in the street to keep the gutter flow line clear and to avoid spillage due to heavy water flow. In areas that have limited on-street parking, be sure that recycling carts and trash barrels are not obstructed by parked cars, making pick-up difficult or impossible.

Remember that City of Denver rules prohibit recyclables or trash from being placed out for collection earlier than 7 PM on the day prior to collection and require that the empty containers be removed by 7 PM on the day of collection.

Please do not place trash and recyclables directly on drains and inlets.

Please pick up litter or any other loose items that could potentially obstruct drains and inlets.

Following these simple tips will also help reduce trash and pollutants from flowing into our waterways.

Help keep the Denver area clean from drain to stream!

So, there are some points to ponder and an event to attend!

July 11 2007 - Severe Storms Early Tonight

A cold front is draped over Colorado, extending from Denver down to the border of New Mexico. This front is not only bringing cooler temperatures, but also the threat for severe weather.

The low level flow is southeasterly with a northwest flow aloft. This sets up an unstable airmass, making conditions favorable for storm development.

Thunderstorms are likely along the foothills and over the northeastern plains this afternoon, with a chance that some of the storms may be severe. The severe storms will be capable of producing hail up to one inch in diameter, along with strong winds and heavy rain.

It's possible that some of the storms may turn very severe in the early evening, from around 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern portions of Adams and Arapahoe counties may see storms capable of producing large hail greater than 2 inches in diameter. If the conditions are just right, the storms could even produce a brief tornado.

The Metro Area will likely see thunderstorms between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. It's possible that the storms may produce heavy rain and penny size hail.

We are on alert here in the 24/7 Weather Center, as we track the development of these storms. For the latest information, check TheDenverChannel.com, 7NEWS, and Comcast Channel 247.

July 10 2007 - Severe Storms Possible Tomorrow

An active day of severe weather is possible across parts of eastern Colorado tomorrow. Conditions quite rare for July will set the stage for storms to get very strong on the eastern plains, primarily south and east of Denver. These storms will have the potential to produce very large hail, strong winds, heavy rains, and possibly a few tornadoes. Follow the action with our 24/7 Storm Chasers as they will be out tomorrow keeping track of the weather.

You can also follow the storms using our weather tools. Check out the Futurecast and Colorado Doppler Radar to keep up to speed on what may shape up to be an active afternoon.

July 10 2007 - Cooler At Last!

Our most recent heatwave has finally been broken. A cold front blew into northern Colorado early this morning, with strong and gusty north winds whipping to 40 mph around 3 AM. The cooler air also brought a few light rainshowers to the Front Range early today. Highs this afternoon will only get up around 80 degrees, a very pleasant break from the string of 11 days with highs in the 90s or higher.

We may not see much in the way of thunderstorms today, despite the increase in humidity over Colorado. The air will be cool enough that the lower levels of the atmosphere will be too stable for strong storms to develop this afternoon or evening on the plains. There will be a few storms over the mountains and foothills, but a large scale outbreak of strong thunderstorms is unlikely.

The atmosphere will be a little more unstable tomorrow and Thursday, so severe weather will be possible the, but we will not see a return to the 90 degree temperatures for several days. So, breathe deep and savor a very pleasant mid-July break from the desert dry heat of the past two weeks!

July 9 2007 - Cooler Air!

A cold front slipped into Colorado yesterday and has brought an end to our most recent heat wave. The thermometer climbed into the 90s for 10 straight days, but just barely made that mark yesterday, with a high of 91 degrees. Today, we should climb into the upper 80s, a pleasant break from the hot stuff. There is more humidity in the air behind the front, as the winds are blowing in from the Dakotas and Nebraska, bringing a little moisture from the plains into eastern Colorado. The higher humidity and mean that some thunderstorms will pop up later this afternoon and this evening.

The western half of the state should remain a little drier, with any thunderstorms bringing lightning and wind, but only a little rain. The temperatures over western Colorado will be a little cooler too and as a result, the Red Flag Warnings for fire danger have been lifted. There is still plenty of concern about wildfires, the danger is just a bit lower by a matter of degrees ( pardon the pun ).

On Tuesday, another cold front will slip into northern Colorado and will decrease temperatures a little more, but increase moisture and instability over the eastern plains. The threat of strong to severe thunderstorms will be higher over the eastern half of the state Tuesday through Thursday. All the eastern Colorado is outlooked for the risk of severe thunderstorms, with large hail and damaging winds for Tuesday.

We could certainly use some rain and the thunderstorms over the next few days will help out. Rainfall totals have been sparse and spotty since late May and while a few lucky lawns, gardens and farmfields have been blessed with big soggy storms, amny areas have been missed. We will hope that this week brings some showers your way - and it would a bonus if the hail and heavy winds stayed away.

July 6 2007 - Relief From the Hot Weather

This weekend is gearing up to be another hot one with high temperatures in the 90s. It'll be a sizzling Saturday with mostly sunny skies. Sunday's highs will also be in the 90s. Expect conditions to remain hot and dry.

But not to worry, relief is on the way by the start of next week. A cold front will dip into the state by Monday bringing our temperatures down into the 80s for the rest of the week. With this front will come a greater chance for showers and storms throughout the week.

On Wednesday, a second wave from the cold front will cool our temperatures down a bit more. Expect highs in the low 80s for Denver and the Eastern Plains. The northern mountains will drop down into the 70s. On Thursday, we'll have the greatest chance for storms.

So although this weekend will be a hot one, at least there is relief in sight! But the cooler temperatures will not last that long. Once the cooler air moves out of the region, there's a big bubble of hot air behind it. Next weekend should be another hot one as well.

July 5 2007 - Landspout Caught on Camera

At about 3:45 this afternoon, my weather intern, Ava, happened to look up at the TV monitor showing live video from Thornton and noticed a brown column of air, north of the downtown area. At first, we thought that it might be smoke from a fire. As we continued to watch the screen, we noticed that the column was actually rotating.

Tony Laubach, our storm chaser, was in the weather center with me at the time and we just so happened to be looking at some file video of landspout tornadoes sent in to us from Roger Hill just a few days ago. We commented on how similar the tornado video from Roger looked to our video seen from our Thornton cam.

We quickly hit record and were able to capture the weak tornado for a couple of minutes before it dissipated.

A landspout tornado is not a traditional tornado and usually not as strong, however they can be quite impressive as Roger Hill showed earlier in the week. This weak tornado likely spun up along a boundary which was moving west-to-east across the Metro area under a developing storm. Such events are rather common in Colorado, but typically occur on the eastern plains near DIA. You can imagine our surprise when we saw this in town!

July 5 2007 - Heating after the holiday

The weather pattern is not going to change very much from yesterday, but temperatures will slowly ratchet up over the next couple of days. The Fourth of July was a pleasant one over much of Colorado, with just a scattering of Mother Nature's own fireworks late in the afternoon and during the evening. The skies will light up in a similar fashion later today, with about a 20% chance of thunderstorms this afternoon and evening.

Highs will rise into the mid 90s Friday and upper 90s Saturday, followed by another cooling trend by early next week. We could use a good soaking rain over the state, but for now the storms will be full of sound and fury, but signify little in terms of beneficial rain.

Fire danger remains highs, so be careful out there - the lightning can do enough to start fires without our help!

July 4 2007 - Independence from the heat!

A cold front slipped into eastern Colorado early Wednesday morning and brought a pleasant change from the extreme heat of recent days. High temperatures dipped back into the 80s to around 90 in Denver and surrounding communities for the Fourth of July holiday. It has been a pleasant day for parades, picnics and parties. There have been a few thunderstorms that have popped up over the foothills and down along the Palmer Divide, but the cooler air over northeastern Colorado has kept the air too stable for thundery weather. The fireworks this evening should mainly be of the manmade variety from Denver north to Boulder, Fort Collins and Greeley, with temperatures in the 70s through the evening.

The cooldown will be fairly brief, as the cold front stalls over the mountains and then reverses field and heads back to the north as a warm front on Thursday. By the weekend, hot and mainly dry weather will cover the state, with highs back into the upper 90s by Saturday.

Another cold front will slide into the region late Sunday afternoon, bringing an increase in the odds for thunderstorms and a decrease in temperatures for the start of the workweek.

July 3 2007 - Strong Storms Hit Tuesday Afternoon!

Several powerful thunderstorms developed across the Interstate 25 corridor as well as over extreme eastern Colorado this afternoon.

The severe thunderstorm warnings were coming fast and furious into the 24/7 Weather Center between 3 PM and 7 PM, with large hail reported in western Boulder County and to the north of Fort Collins.

One very powerful thunderstorm cell dropped hail the size of golf balls from Coal Creek Canyon south toward Conifer.

Farther east, a severe thunderstorm blew up over Kit Carson County and produced numerous small tornadoes near Seibert. Stormchaser Roger Hill was tracking that storm and witnessed nine separate tornado touchdowns around 4:30 PM. The storm produced small tornadoes often known as "landspouts."

These form along local wind boundaries that develop from rapidly building thunderstorms. They are not typically as powerful as the classic tornadoes that rip across the central plains, but still can cause damage and can provide some incredible pictures.

The storms will be diminishing this evening and skies will clear overnight. The Fourth of July will be cooler, courtesy of a cold front moving into the region overnight. Highs will only climb into the 80s - a refreshing change! There will be some afternoon and evening thunderstorms on the Fourth, but the rain chances will only be around 20%. Most fireworks displays will be unaffected by the natural light show provided by Mother Nature on Wednesday.

The cooler weather will not stick around too long, as the temperatures will creep back into the 90s by Friday and over the weekend.

July 3 2007 - One More Sizzler!

Monday saw the second triple digit day of the year in Denver, with a record tying 100 degrees. The previous record of 100 degrees was set in 1990. The super-heated weather will linger today, but a change is coming!

Late today, a cold front will move into the state providing a break from the heat. This front will be accompanied by scattered thunderstorms this evening until about midnight. The northeast corner of Colorado is outlooked for the possibility of severe thunderstorms late this afternoon.

In the wake of the front tomorrow, the temperatures will be much cooler, with highs only in the 80s. There will be a chance for thunderstorms on Wednesday afternoon and evening, but rain chances will only be about 30%, so picnics, parades, and parties should be able to carry on "independent" of major weather worries!

The heat relief will be brief, as the cooler air will move out just in time for the weekend when temperatures will resume back into the 90s with little precipitation expected.

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