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Near record heat expected in Colorado next week; boost in snowmelt likely

Posted at 3:09 PM, Apr 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-24 19:29:31-04

A long duration warm stretch is forecast to impact Colorado, and the western U.S. for the last week of April.

Meteorologically, a ridge of high pressure will dominate the weather pattern.

Flirting with records

Both Colorado Springs and Pueblo will be within 5 degrees of record highs from Monday April 27 through at least Friday May 1.

The first 80 degree day of 2020 is likely next week for major cities like Denver, Colorado Springs, and Fort Collins.

The average first 80 degree day in Colorado Springs is April 30, from the past 30 years. This would be right on time for a typical year. The average high is 64 degrees for Colorado Springs.

The average first 90 degree day in Pueblo is May 15, based on the past 30 years. This would be more of an anomaly. The average high for Pueblo right now is 72 degrees.

Kick-starting spring snowmelt

This warm stretch will likely bring a boost to the spring snowmelt. High elevation cities, like Leadville will likely see 50s and 60s through the week.

Service Hydrologist, Tony Anderson, with the National Weather Service in Pueblo, notes "during that time we will probably see an increase in run-off, but I'm not expecting flooding."

He also notes that several days of warmth, during the day and staying mild overnight, will help to melt more snow. Anderson expects the snowmelt next week to be particularly noticeable in high elevation creeks.

As of April 22, the state's snowpack stands at 107%, or just slightly above normal. Southern Colorado river basins are running slightly under normal, while northern Colorado basins are keeping that above normal status.

Statewide snowpack as of April 22, 2020

The Rio Grande is especially low and will likely see below average river levels this season. The Arkansas river is projected to see a normal year, but some tributaries will run below average, especially the southern Sangres.

Anderson emphasizes safety is priority heading into the spring run-off. Rising waters are very cold and powerful this time of year. If you will be near Colorado's waterways during the warm stretch next week, it is advised to wear a life vest.