Week 1 Outlook: April 16-22
The next few days will feature two relatively weak troughs moving across the Western U.S., bringing rain and snow to the Rocky Mountains and Intermountain West and dry and windy conditions with elevated fire danger east of the Continental Divide and across the adjacent plains. However, a strong and potentially wet and snowy storm system is projected for the end of the week across the Front Range and Eastern Colorado, which could bring some much-needed moisture to this region. The main threat of precipitation across the Denver region at the end of the week will be on Friday and through the first half of the day Saturday. Below is an image of NOAA’s projected precipitation amounts over the next 7 days. Not a bad outlook for Eastern Colorado!
The track of the storm system will have to be monitored throughout the week, as this will impact where and how much precipitation falls across the I-25 corridor and Eastern Colorado. In addition, this system will be highly temperature and elevation dependent with regards to snowfall potential. Although confidence is increasing that portions of Eastern Colorado will see good moisture, how much of this falls as snow will be the primary question. Areas above 6,000′ will stand the highest chance of seeing respectable snowfall amounts, while Denver itself may be more in question and will depend on how quickly rain can change to snow. The best chance for the Mile High City to get some snow will be from Friday night through Saturday morning.
Outside of Colorado, this system is also expected to bring some beneficial moisture to the drought-plagued Southern Plains, including Oklahoma and Texas – areas that really need the moisture! The caveat of course is that this storm system will likely also result in a severe thunderstorm threat across these areas on Saturday. Overall, the late week system is looking very interesting for the eastern slopes of the Rockies and the adjacent plains, but plenty of uncertainties remain on the details this far in advance.
Week 2 Outlook:
High pressure will be taking control across the far Western U.S. early next week, resulting in drier than normal conditions across the Pacific states. However, longer range models hint that another trough could drop in from the northwest, which would bring an additional shot of precipitation to the Central Rockies, and perhaps the Front Range and Eastern Plains of Colorado during the early to middle part of next week. Beyond mid-next week, longer range models project more high pressure and drier than normal conditions across a good portion of the West, but there may be some weak systems that break through the ridge and bring additional precipitation chances to portions of the Rockies as well.