FTB 05-22-2020: Colorado Begins to Dry Out & Heat Up with Fire Danger Returning to Western and Southern Colorado

Issue Date: Friday, May 22nd, 2020
Issue Time: 8:40AM MDT

— Flooding is NOT expected today

Colorado will sit in a nice dry slot today, which means the higher moisture will be to our east and west as seen in the water vapor imagery below. As the base of the trough slides southeast from Oregon into the Great Basin (red arrow) the jet will start to move into western Colorado and turn flow more southwesterly. This will help increase southwest surface winds over western and southern Colorado into the 10 to 20 mph range (higher gusts), and with low relative humidity, a Red Flag Warning has been issued from noon today until 9PM this evening. Some residual moisture over the Front Range may pop a weak, high-based storm or two, but the main threat will be gusty outflow winds. There is slightly better moisture (as is typical) over the eastern plains, but without any apparent forcing, not expecting more than one or two weak storms to form over the Southeast Plains. Flooding is not forecast.

Today’s Flood Threat Map

For more information on today’s flood threat, see the map below. If there is a threat, hover over the threat areas for more details, and click on burn areas to learn more about them. For Zone-Specific forecasts, scroll below the threat map.

Zone-Specific Forecasts:

Northern Mountains, Front Range, Central Mountains, Urban Corridor, Palmer Ridge, Northeast Plains, & Southeast Plains:

Temperatures will be on the rise today as the atmosphere begins to dry out and warm is advected into the state. Outside of a very weak shower or two over the Front Range, not expecting rainfall over the mountains. As the storms track into the northern Urban Corridor, expecting intensity to decrease and virga to increase. Further east, a couple weak storms could form over the Southeast Plains, but severe weather is not forecast. Max 1-hour rain rates just under 0.50 inches will be possible.

Primetime: 1:30PM to 9:30PM

Grand Valley, Northwest Slope, Southwest Slope, San Juan Mountains, Southeast Mountains, Raton Ridge, & San Luis Valley:

These regions will have various areas of Critical fire weather this afternoon, so be sure to tune into your local NWS office for the latest. Also included is the I-25 corridor of the western Southeast Plains. Over western Colorado, southwest winds are forecast in the 15 to 25 mph range with gusts in the 40 to 45 mph range. The Southeast Mountains, San Luis Valley, and Raton Ridge will have slightly lower wind speeds, although they are still expected to meet Red Flag Warning criteria. A cold front drops into the Northwest Slope this evening, which will help cool off high temperatures tomorrow and increase afternoon storm chances over the higher terrains.