Following last week’s significant precipitation event across the Front Range of Colorado, we have entered a stretch of dry weather and warm temperatures over the past several days as high pressure has taken control across the Western U.S. Temperatures across Eastern Colorado will be pushing into the 80s over the next couple of days, and may even approach 90 in some areas on Thursday! The warm temperatures have accelerated snowmelt in the mountains as well, even after last week’s significant dump of snow across the Northern Colorado mountains. Farther north in Wyoming and Montana where snowpack is above average, the warm temperatures are causing rapid snowmelt and rising stream levels.
Although much of Colorado and the Western U.S. is enjoying nice spring weather right now, the pattern will begin to shift late this week as a slow-moving trough of low pressure takes hold across the Intermountain West, before stalling just west of Colorado this weekend. Just exactly where the area of low pressure sets up will determine the impacts across Colorado, but for now this nearly stationary feature will likely result in several days of active weather from Friday of this week through early next week.
On Friday, Eastern Colorado will see an elevated threat of thunderstorms on the leading edge of this system, before colder temperatures and more widespread rain showers are projected to arrive Saturday. This system looks warm enough that snow levels should remain above 8,000′ for the most part. As a result, the outlook for areas below 8,000′ in Colorado is a wet one across most of the state, while higher elevation mountain areas could pick up good snowfall amounts.
There is still a lot of uncertainty with this system as some recent model runs are actually shifting the track too far west for Colorado to receive significant precipitation amounts. If these trends were to continue, then the expectations for moisture may have to be reduced, at least for some portions of Colorado. Areas of southern/central Wyoming such as the Wind River Mountains, as well as the Uinta Mountains of Northeast Utah currently stand a better chance of seeing significant precipitation, while Colorado is more of a wild card – unsettled/showery weather is expected for Colorado at the very least, but just how wet depends on how far east or west this area of low pressure sets up. For now, here is NOAA’s precipitation projection from Friday morning through Sunday morning, which still keeps Colorado on the wetter side.