STP 05-28-2015: Storms Battle Dry Air To Stay Alive; Snow Melt Begins In Earnest

Issue Date: May 28th, 2015
Issue Time: 8:55AM MDT

Summary:

Thundershowers had a tough time battling the drier upper-level air in place on Wednesday. This is quite a contrast from the past two to three weeks where the upper-level atmosphere was very humid and conducive to storm formation. Regardless, quite a number of mostly weak thunderstorms formed across the state by early afternoon. Storm motion was enough to keep one hour rain rates in the 0.2 to 0.5 inch range. Overall, the highest 24-hour rain total came in from Trinidad in Las Animas county at 1.23 inches.

The strongest cells of the day were found along the Kansas border, where moisture and instability were in more abundance. There, hail up to 2 inches was observed, along with a tornado sighting in Yuma.

As can be expected this time of year, the warmer temperatures have begun to work on the high elevation snowpack. An inspection of several SNOTEL sites reveals that up to 2 inches of snow water equivalent melted or sublimated (from snow straight to water vapor) on Wednesday alone. For many locations, this represents 10% or more of the entire snowpack. Interestingly, this shows that while snow takes many months to accumulate, it can be gone in a matter of a week or two given warm weather.

No flash flooding was reported yesterday. However, parts of the Arkansas and South Platte Rivers continued to be in minor flood stage.

Please check the map below for estimated rainfall in your area. Note that the rainfall in Yuma county may be overestimated due to hail.

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Storm Total Precip Legend