Weather - Forecast

Jun 25, 2014 1:54 PM by Stephen Bowers

Wednesday Weather Update: Stormy Today, Then Warming

More storms are expected this afternoon, and with those thunderstorms comes another day with an elevated risk for severe weather. Main severe weather threats today are damaging wind and hail. Radar early this afternoon shows increasing showers and thunderstorms over the High Country where showers will form initially before rolling out of the mountains and through the Urban Corridor before moving on to the Plains.

Dew point temperatures, which are a measure of the moisture content in the atmosphere, have been in the 50's and near 60. Dew points that high indicate that the atmosphere is loaded with moisture. You can tell the moisture content (or humidity, as many people call it) is high because of the condenstation that forms on the outside of a drinking glass that contains a nice cold, refreshing beverage. The air is warm and contains a lot of water vapor. The water vapor condenses to liquid when it is cooled, and it is cooling when it comes into contact with the cold sides of your drinking glass.

There is enough moisture that the heat of the afternoon alone can generate a few thunderstorms, and the afternoon warmth will get some help from an upslope wind from the southeast. That may help to choke off activity along the Arkansas River Valley, as the wind will flow down into the Arkansas Valley. That terrain-influenced downslope component to the wind tends to dry out the clouds and showers. The wind will be upslope along the Palmer Divide, Raton Mesa, and the mountains. The upslope component to the wind provides the upward air movement needed to generate the showers and thunderstorms. Temperatures will top out in the 80's and 90's this afternoon. That kind of warmth is energy from which thunderstorms will feed, and the warmth will provide enough energy that the concern for severe weather is present. Primary threats for severe weather will be damaging wind and large hail. Tornadoes could threaten areas to our north, closer to Denver and even more over the Northeastern Plains. The threat for tornadoes is higher to the north due to the vertical wind shear, or change of wind direction and speed with height.

After today, the moisture content of the atmosphere will continue to decrease, and with a little wind shift ahead of an approaching cold front the downslope wind will be favored. Since upward air motion is necessary for thunderstorms, the downslope wind will favor dry weather with unseasonably warm temperatures tomorrow, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. We will stay warm and overall dry even into Monday, but temperatures will begin cooling slightly. We introduce showers and thunderstorms on Tuesday next week in a pattern than also looks to favor further cooling into midweek.

 

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