4/23/2018 – Big Change This Afternoon!

We are posting our first severe weather risk areas map today! Just another reminder that storm season is about to kick off across Colorado. Today’s marginal risk mainly includes Northern and Northeastern Colorado as this areas looks most favorable for strong and severe thunderstorms to develop. Conditions aren’t great though; I suspect the main threat out of any strong or severe storms will be wind and to a lesser degree hail.

SPC Outlook for Colorado Monday April 23, 2018

Most other areas across Colorado including the Palmer Divide are under a more “General” thunderstorm risk. This means that severe storms are unlikely but conditions for thunderstorms will exist (I like to call these “garden variety” thunderstorms.

Here’s a quick refresher on Severe Thunderstorm Risk Categories:

The Next 3 Days

All in all, not a bad looking week ahead, after the storm late Monday and Tuesday… the rest of the week returns to seasonable weather with pleasant daytime temperatures and chilly nights.

We will keep an eye out for any interesting storm activity Monday and update if needed but chances look relatively low for anything strong or severe across the Palmer Divide.


4/20/2018 – Almost Show Time!

GOES 16 satellite image showing the storm and its main circulation over Southern Utah as of this morning

Our storm system is beginning to move into the area this morning, but those of us along the front range probably won’t see much in terms of precipitation until a bit later in the day. Showers and even some thunderstorms may pop up by the afternoon, NWS has the snow level starting above 7,500ft in elevation and moving down to as low as 5,000ft by the evening and overnight hours.

While some models bounced the snow totals up as of this morning, some left things unchanged. The Nam3k model that showed no snow for Castle Rock yesterday now shows abour 2-3 inches, the HRRR is still showing very little snow at all (within the range we can see) and the GFS is relatively unchanged.

The SREF ensembles were also able to bump snow accumulation up about an inch at Centennial so there is that. Overall even though snow totals went up with a few models the ranges were  still within our initial forecast so we will make no changes at this time. It looks like a lot of areas will see moisture of some kind in the range of 0.25 inches to 1 inch depending on where you are… very beneficial given our fire conditions and drought status as of right now.

Snowfall Amounts

Still on track with our thinking on snowfall amounts, most areas should fall within their ranges specified below, again with the mountains and western foothills being the main winners in terms of snowfall. We should get a couple of more model runs before the storm this afternoon so we’ll keep an eye out for any jumps one way or another. Spring storms can always throw a surprise our way but we are seeing increase confidence in the storm track and strength.

Douglas County (Castle Rock, Franktown, Larkspur, Parker, Highlands Ranch)

Parker: 0-2 inches total
Highlands Ranch: 0-2inches total
Castle Rock: 1-4inches total
Larkspur: 1-4 inches total
Franktown: 0-3 inches total

Elbert County (Elizabeth, Elbert, Limon, Kiowa)


Elizabeth: 1-4 inches total
Elbert: 1-4 inches total
Kiowa: 0-2 inches total
Limon: 1-4 inches total

Other Areas (By Request)

Woodland Park: 1-4 inches total
Monument: 1-4 inches total
I-76 corridor: 0-1 inch, likely no snow accumulation

Here’s another quick look at the Nam3k as of this morning and current weather alerts:

Nam3k forecast snowfall through Saturday end of storm

4/19/2018 – PM Storm Update

Very quick update on the storm tonight, models have dropped snowfall and overall precipitation across the board. That being said; like so many storms this year the foothills and mountains will get a healthy dose of snow. Below are 2 models, the longer range GFS which has been a bit more keen on snowfall accumulation for the front range plains but less so in the mountains.

The Nam3K high resolution models has predicted less snowfall for the plains east of the divide but more for the mountains and foothills, especially West of Denver.

So where do we go from here? While the models are in relative agreement on the precipitation amount of a lot of areas, they don’t quite agree on who sees snow accumulation and who doesn’t. Given the weather pattern this year and the weak looking state of this storm system across most of the models, we will hedge on lighter snowfall amounts.

The SREF ensembles for Centennial Airport show a mean of 0.5 inches, while Monument shows 1.5 inches. We would expect Castle Rock and most areas of the Palmer Divide to see some snow accumulation but overall light amounts.

What To Expect

Snowfall Amounts

This storm looked promising to start with but while it showed a favorable track initially and seemed to pull in decent moisture, the meteorology just doesn’t support a widespread large snow event. Most areas below 6,000 feet in elevation will see rain with little to no snow accumulation and areas above will struggle to get a couple of inches on grassy surfaces and vegetation. With the information tonight; here’s what we are thinking across the board for snowfall accumulation… and yes it is largely dependent on elevation and location.

Douglas County (Castle Rock, Franktown, Larkspur, Parker, Highlands Ranch)

Parker: 0-2 inches total
Highlands Ranch: 0-2inches total
Castle Rock: 1-4inches total
Larkspur: 1-4 inches total
Franktown: 0-3 inches total

Elbert County (Elizabeth, Elbert, Limon, Kiowa)


Elizabeth: 1-4 inches total
Elbert: 1-4 inches total
Kiowa: 0-2 inches total
Limon: 1-4 inches total

Other Areas (By Request)

Woodland Park: 1-4 inches total
Monument: 1-4 inches total
I-76 corridor: 0-1 inch, likely no snow accumulation

We’ll keep an eye on things tonight and pass along any updates as needed tomorrow morning.


4/18/2018 – Weekend Spring Storm Update

At one point this weekend’s storm was looking very promising for snow lovers as one of our better looking shots at a big storm this year. We were a bit more cautious as we’ve seen several scenarios like this over the past few months “fall apart.” We could point to no less than 2-3 storms that looked like monster blizzards on models 5-7+ days out… but with each of these storms as we got to within the 1-3 day range and they tended to fizzle.

Well, I hate to say this but this storm doesn’t look super promising from one standpoint (mainly snowfall accumulation for the lower elevations.) There are a few things lacking and a few things showing up that give us pause on the models; here’s what we see…

  1. The circulation has become more broad
    • This can mean a few things, first of all a broader circulation means this thing gets a bit shredded up over the mountains and ends up weakening. This is not good as we need a healthy storm system to really kick in the upslope along the front range.
  2. Positioning is a bit better, but…
    • You’ll notice in the image above that because the circulation broadens, we see more Southerly and Southwesterly winds which doesn’t equate to great upslope conditions along the front range of Colorado. The exception here may be the foothills just West of Denver, a SSE wind would give them just enough of a kick to squeeze decent moisture.
  3. Cold Air Support
    • It’s no secret that with the warmer temperatures this time of year it’s tougher to get large snow accumulations. This storm system, because of it’s disorganization will have a tough time tapping into cold air, this means lower elevations may see a larger amount of precipitation falling as rain rather than snow.

None of this is to say to write off this system altogether, when the initial wave moves through there is still support for at least some decent moisture.

A forecast radar snapshot for 9PM Friday evening

Despite the fact that things don’t look super favorable overall, there is still quite a bit of moisture with this storm and models have shown consistently that we should see at least a portion of that fall in Eastern Colorado. Expect unsettled conditions during the day Friday with precipitation starting mainly as rain and light overall, as we go later into the day look for precipitation to increase and for some higher elevations to change to snow.

What to Expect

Still need to get  a bit more data on this storm (models are still struggling with position and timing) but we are getting a clearer picture of some of the impacts we might look for at least.

  • Expect biggest travel impacts in the higher elevations of the foothills and Palmer Divide Friday evening and into the nighttime hours.
  • Precipitation will be rain for most areas with the snow focused in elevations above 6,000 feet, even then significant accumulation doesn’t look likely
  • Even though we don’t expect huge accumulations for Castle Rock and the Palmer Divide Region, models do show an intense burst of snow in the evening hours on Friday. Snow may come down quick enough to accumulate slush on the roads so be prepared for that.

Here’s the latest look at expected snowfall amounts (these are preliminary and will change a bit over the next 24-36 hours) so keep that in mind


For what it’s worth, models struggle mightily this time of year with temperature and snowfall accumulation. These types of storms are some of the hardest to predict; any wobble in the storm track, positioning or timing could mean big changes to this forecast. We have seen storms in the past strengthen and tap in to cold air and overperform too!

Stay tuned, we’ll keep an eye on it and  have another update or two on Thursday.


4/16/2018 – The Week Ahead: Fire and Ice!

The week ahead looks to feature more classic Colorado Spring weather for many areas of the state and the Palmer Divide will be no exception. As the week starts off relatively quiet, our fire concerns will begin to creep back in again, but a lot of folks will enjoy the warm temperatures. The bad news is that the wind will be back, especially on Tuesday as a weak storm system pushes through. The roller coaster ride continues up and down as we keep our eyes on a larger and more powerful storm system that looks to impact Colorado around Friday. Here’s the week outlook:

Weather Alerts

A Red Flag Warning will be in effect for most of Eastern and Southeastern Colorado for Tuesday from 10AM through 8PM for high winds, warm temperatures, low humidity and critical fire danger.

You can see details for the Red Flag Warning updated on our Warnings and Alerts Page

We will update through the week if any additional weather alerts are issued, stay tuned!

Forecast ( First Half of the Week)

AS you can see from the forecast, the first half of the week looks relatively unremarkable in terms of day-to-day weather. Tuesday’s main concern will be the return to high fire danger but little to no precipitation is expected the first half of the week. Tuesday may see some sprinkles with a weak storm moving by but it mainly looks like a mountain event.

Forecast ( Second Half of the Week)

The second half of the week looks a bit more unsettled, the storm on Friday into Saturday will have to be watched. Some models have it setting up very similar to the last storm that brought blizzard conditions to the Northeast corner of the state, but setting up a few hundred miles further South. That would mean a higher impact event for the Colorado front range. Nothing to get too excited about just yet, but we will be keeping a watchful eye on it.

Late Week Storm System (Quick Note)

The interesting bit of this storm is that it looks relatively powerful on our models (at least the few we can see with right now) and the positioning has been consistently further South than the last storm. The big questions here will be;

  • Does it stay as strong as we get closer?
    • Models will need to be consistent with the strength of the storm system
  • Does the positioning end up “just right”?
    • Any wobble to the storm track is the difference between getting “hammered” or nothing at all!
  • Will it bring blizzard conditions to the Front Range this time?
    • Lots of variables here; is the system too warm? Do severe storms out East rob it of moisture?

As you can see, we have a lot more questions than answers at this time. Keep in mind, we’re not getting too excited about this storm system just yet, but we’ll watch the models and forecasts over the next few days to see if this thing comes together and how. It is possible it can’t tap into enough cold air and all we see is rain and thunderstorms. Stay tuned for details throughout the week!


4/12/2018 – Several Weather Warnings Up for Colorado Today

There’s a lot going on weather-wise across Colorado today and many areas have weather warnings and alerts up. Without too much blather and further ado; here’s the latest!

Colorado Weather Alerts | Red Flag Warning | High Wind Warning | Winter Weather Advisory | Castle Rock Weather | Palmer Divide Weather

Current Weather Alerts as of Thursday morning

Current Weather Alerts and Details

Red Flag Warning — Thursday from 10AM through Thursday 9PM

Areas included:

South Park and the Southern Foothills across the Palmer Divide and
Denver metro area and most of Northeastern and Eastern Colorado



Conditions will be favorable for new fire starts and
rapid fire growth. Extreme fire behavior is possible.


Open burning is highly discouraged if not prohibited on Red Flag
days. Use extreme caution with anything that may produce a spark.

A Red Flag Warning means that critical fire weather conditions
are either occurring now....or will shortly. A combination of
strong winds...low relative humidity...and warm temperatures can
contribute to extreme fire behavior.

High Wind Warning — Thursday from 12PM through Thursday 9PM

Areas included:

Colorado Springs, Peterson AFB, Pueblo, Branson,
and Kim



Expect areas of blowing dust, along with strong cross
  winds on north south oriented roadways on Thursday, and on
  east to west oriented roads on Friday. This will cause hazards
  to high profile or light weight vehicles.


A High Wind Warning means a hazardous high wind event is expected
or occurring. Sustained wind speeds of at least 40 mph or gusts
of 58 mph or more can lead to property damage.

Winter Weather Advisory — Thursday from 6PM through Friday 9PM

Areas included:

East Slopes Park and Northern Gore
Ranges, Gore Pass, Rabbit Ears Pass, Cameron Pass,
Laramie and Medicine Bow Mountains, Rabbit Ears Range,
Rocky Mountain National Park, Willow Creek Pass, Berthoud Pass,
Breckenridge, East Slopes Mosquito Range,
East Slopes Southern Gore Range, Eisenhower Tunnel, Indian Peaks,
Kenosha Mountains, Mount Evans, Williams Fork Mountains,
and Winter Park



Plan on slippery road conditions. In addition, areas of poor visibility are likely. Winds gusting
as high as 50 mph will cause areas of blowing and drifting snow.


A Winter Weather Advisory for snow and blowing snow means periods
of snow and blowing snow will cause primarily travel
difficulties. Expect snow covered roads and limited visibilities,
and use caution while driving.


As always, you can see Castle Rock specific weather warnings here!


All in all it will be a very busy day for weather watchers and meteorologists across Colorado. Strong winds and low humidity will mean nearly all of Eastern Colorado will be under the gun for extreme fire conditions. Meanwhile a strong storm system to the North of Colorado will usher in moisture to the mountains, that combined with strong winds will mean tricky travel conditions late Thursday and most of the day Friday.

This storm system will impact Denver and the Palmer Divide to some degree on Friday, not seeing a ton of moisture with it but winds will continue to be strong on Friday coupled with a cold front that will drastically drop temperatures.

Look for an update on that storm system later today!

4/9/2018 – Bring on the Heat!

Hopefully everyone had a great weekend, the weather was a bit cool, a bit windy and even snowy for some folks. Monday featured another quick show of moisture with rain, snow and sleet especially for areas South of Denver.

The good news is; spring will make a return this week!

A warm blob of air moves into the area on Tuesday with highs up and down the front range reaching into the 60’s and even a few 70’s in some places. The air will be dry and fire danger will be a concern but Tuesday will be on of the less windier days we will see this week.

Wednesday features more warm air and stronger winds. Downsloping conditions will warm temperatures into the 70’s once again at lower elevations and 60’s in slightly higher elevations. Most areas along the Palmer divide should end up in the mid to upper 60’s during the day and low 40’s to upper 30’s by nighttime. Downslope winds will make for a warmer night.

Thursday continues the warm and dry trend with strong winds, fire danger looks to be high in the middle of the week. Here’s a look at the next 3 days for Castle Rock, Colorado:

We’ll keep an eye on the forecast, but expect windy conditions, above average temperature and critical fire weather conditions over the next few days.

We’ll try to keep up with the fire weather alerts and have a post about them, but in the meantime you can get near real-time weather alerts for Castle Rock on our Castle Rock Weather Warnings’ page. (These are automatically updated about every 15 minutes, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.


04/06/2018 – Storm System Features Snow, Cold Temps

The storm system moving today won’t be super impressive in terms of snowfall… the main impact will be the wind and the cold temperatures. Many of the local TV stations have been harping on this all week, but if you’re going to the Rockies game today… it’s going to be cold!

Colorado Weather | Denver Weather | Colorado Rockies | Cold | Colorado Rockies Home Opener 2018 Weather | Home Opener weather Denver

Today’s home opener for the Rockies could be one of the coldest in history.

For those of us along the Palmer Divide (a bit closer to home) we can expect the front to move through very shortly. Temperatures were already dropping and winds were picking up at the writing of this article. We expect upslope flow to kick in along with this front and bring the area some snowfall. Temperatures in the middle and lower atmosphere should be cool enough to support snow.

Snow in Castle Rock | Forecast snow | Castle Rock Weather | Castle Rock Colorado Weather | Palmer Divide Weather | Palmer Divide Snow

Models show snow moving through the area as early as 12PM and lasting in to the afternoon hours

The snapshot above from the HRRR model shows a good bit of snow moving through early this afternoon from North to South. Don’t expect a ton of snow accumulation from this system, while it’s not moisture starved it simply moves through too quickly to accumulate much snow.

Castle Rock Weather | Weather in Castle Rock | Forecast Low Temperatures | Cold Weather | Colorado Weather | Palmer Divide Weather

Colder temperatures will be the big story this afternoon

The temperatures this afternoon and tonight will be cooler than we’ve seen for awhile. The snapshot above shows forecast temperatures around 3:30PM this afternoon. Expect those to continue to fall into the evening and overnight hours with many areas ending up in the upper teens and low 20’s for nighttime lows.

Snowfall Accumulation

Castle Rock Weather | Castle Rock Co Weather | Palmer Divide Weather | Snowfall amounts | Castle Rock Snow | Palmer Divide Snow

Not going to dwell too much on snowfall with this storm… models do show some areas getting a bit of accumulation but I think the ground is warm enough where some of these numbers are a bit overdone. The main jist here is many areas along the Palmer Divide will end up with little to no accumulation; areas that do see snow stick could see an inch or two of accumulation.

Areas Southwards towards the Springs (think Monument, Palmer Lake, Black Forest) will see very minimal accumulation and strong winds from time to time. Like many of the Northwesterly storms we’ve seen this year, the big winners with snowfall will be the mountains and foothills adjacent to the front range. Areas West of Manitou Springs could see 4-8 inches with locally higher amounts in some areas.


All in all, we will be glad to get a bit of moisture out of this storm but we don’t see a lot of snow and not a huge impact with this storm system. The main thing to remember is how cold it will be Friday afternoon and into the evening and nighttime hours. If you have plans, be sure to bundle up… it will feel more like January this evening than April.

Record cold | Colorado Weather | Colorado Snow | April 2018 snow | Cold Temperatures in April 2018

It could be worse, you could be hanging out in North Dakota tonight!

Monday PM – Tues AM Storm Update

Colorado Weather Alerts and Information as of 7AM Monday March 26, 2018

You can view Castle Rock specific Weather Warnings on our Page Here!

Dense Fog Advisory


Fort Collins, Hereford, Loveland, Nunn,
Briggsdale, Grover, Pawnee Buttes, Raymer, Stoneham, Bennett,
Byers, Deer Trail, Leader, Agate, Hugo, Limon, Matheson, Forder,
Karval, Kutch, Punkin Center, Akron, Cope, Last Chance, Otis,
Amherst, Haxtun, and Holyoke




A Dense Fog Advisory means visibilities will frequently be
reduced to less than one quarter mile. If driving...slow down...
use your headlights...and leave plenty of distance ahead of you.

Winter Weather Advisory

Locations (Palmer Divide):

Castle Rock, Elbert, Fondis,
Kiowa, and Larkspur




Plan on slippery road conditions. Expect
reduced visibilities at times.
A Winter Weather Advisory for snow means periods of snow will
cause primarily travel difficulties. Expect snow covered roads
and limited visibilities, and use caution while driving.

Storm Update

Everything for the most part seems to be on track with this storm with the data coming in this morning. Models are still showing a system moving in this afternoon, initially with rain showers (and even a few thunderstorms) and changing over to snow at some point. The instability in the atmosphere will lend itself to some areas seeing short and intense bursts of snowfall (very similarly to the last storm) so be prepared for that this evening.

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Nam3K model prediction of precipitation around 8PM tonight

Notice the fine line between rain and snow setting up somewhere South of Castle Rock in the early evening hours. Where this line ends up and when it ends up there will be very important to how much snowfall we see.  Models can spit out expected snowfall amounts all day, but they sometimes struggle with pinning those amounts down when you have fine temperature line like that. It’s the main reason we see so many busted forecasts (both high and low) in the spring months along Colorado’s front range.

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Nam3k precipitation forecast for midnight (12AM Tuesday morning)

By later in the evening hours we transition all to snow, this time period could contain intense bursts of snowfall, strong winds and low visibilities… much like the last storm. Travel conditions will deteriorate into the evening and overnight hours.

What To Expect

Snowfall Amounts

There’s still a lot of uncertainty here mainly due to the temperature and when the rain changes to snow (which models can’t predict too well) so you may hear widely varying amounts of snow based on who or what TV station or source you listen to for weather. Due to the high uncertainty, for our forecast strategy we took the probabilistic totals as a start and base our forecast on those and some of our own data…

Parker: 2-5 inches total
Highlands Ranch: 3-6 inches total
Castle Rock: 3-7 inches total
Larkspur: 4-8 inches total
Franktown: 3-7 inches total

Elbert County (Elizabeth, Elbert, Limon, Kiowa)


Elizabeth: 3-7 inches total
Elbert: 3-7 inches total
Kiowa: 3-7 inches total
Limon: 1-4 inches total

First thing you’ll notice is the ranges are a bit wider than our past storm’s forecast. Again this is because the temperature setup and atmosphere are slightly different and depending on exactly when things change form rain to snow makes the difference as to whether you’ll see the higher or lower end of those snowfall ranges.


Rain will start moving in after 2 or 3 PM on Monday. That precip should change over to snow as you make your way towards the evening hours. Remember, the Palmer Divide will change over fast than lower elevation areas like Denver.

Probably a good idea to have everything wrapped up and be off the roads by 8PM.


Just like the last storm, any areas under intense bursts of snowfall will see road conditions deteriorate quickly. Expect slushy and icy roads especially in the evening and overnight hours. I suspect the Tuesday morning commute will be impacted at least moderately, especially on the South side of town.


Lots of similarities with this storm and the last one we had, but some differences too. I don’t think we will see quite as much snow as the last storm but accumulations could be close if the rain changes over sooner. Of course, this entire forecast is riding on the low pressure systems to set up correctly and take the right track. Any wobble in those could make a big difference.

Be sure to stay tuned and we will pass along any updates we see with this storm. Be sure to stay tuned for other updates as well as there are potentially 2… YES 2… more storm systems slated to impact our area this week. Each of which could bring snow and much needed moisture!

Fire Weather Warnings Ahead of Unsettled Week

Red Flag Warnings are up for high fire danger across the Palmer Divide and most of the East Central and Southeast part of the state. Strong winds gusting to 35 mph will be likely on Sunday with low relative humidities and warm temperatures. Sadly, the combination of this weather the past week and still dormant vegetation has all but erased the moisture we received last week. Here’s the Red Flag Warning details:


The National Weather Service in Denver has issued a Red Flag
Warning FOR WIND AND LOW RELATIVE HUMIDITY, which is in effect
from noon today to 6 PM MDT this evening.

* Affected Area...Fire Weather Zones 241...246 and 247.

* Timing...12 PM TO 6 PM MDT Sunday.

* Winds...Southeast 10 to 20 mph with gusts up to 35 mph.

* Relative Humidity...As low as 11 percent.

* Impacts...Conditions will be favorable for rapid rates of fire
  growth and spread this afternoon and evening. The most favorable
  areas will be over southeast Douglas...Elbert and western areas
  of Lincoln county.


A Red Flag Warning means that critical fire weather conditions
are either occurring now....or will shortly. A combination of
strong winds...low relative humidity...and warm temperatures can
contribute to extreme fire behavior.

Unsettled Weather Week Could Bring Relief

There’s a few storm systems set to impact us this upcoming week, they’ll pretty much be lined up to hit us one after the other. We’ll look at the first one and update on the additional storm systems later in the week.

Here’s the setup for the Monday-Tuesday storm

500mb upper air pattern on Tuesday around 2AM

A strong upper level trough (low pressure) will move Southeastward into Southern California and Arizona through the day Monday. This system will tap into moisture and push it aloft towards Colorado. Through the day expect it to move Eastward but never really take a turn to the North, this means the main bit of energy remains too far South for us to see a setup like we had last week.

Surface winds on Tuesday around 3AM

Meanwhile on Monday evening and into Tuesday morning a surface low sets up as a cold front moves through and changes the wind direction at the surface. Winds should turn Northerly or Northeasterly, meaning upslope along the front range. This allows us a period of time to squeeze some of that moisture out of the atmosphere, but I suspect a lot of places will see rain or light snow accumulations. The areas to watch for heavier snowfall accumulations will be the foothills West of Denver and to a degree the Palmer Divide.


  • Location, location, location
    • Where exactly the surface low sets up and how strongly it can give the region upslope will make all the difference
  • Instability!
    • Just like the past storm bands of heavier convective snowfall will be possible
    • This means some areas may see short, intense bursts of snowfall

Expected snowfall range through Tuesday 5AM – these are preliminary numbers, expect them to change a bit either way

As of Sunday morning with the latest modeling data, here’s our thinking on snowfall accumulations. The snow will again be mainly oriented along the Palmer Divide but given the less desirable moisture and atmospheric setup snow totals don’t look nearly as impressive at this time. The above model shows snowfall through Tuesday 5AM, most areas in and around Castle Rock look to end up in the 1-4 inch range. Areas to the East and West will see slightly more will areas North and South will see less snowfall.

Stay tuned for updates to the forecast throughout the day later on Sunday and into Monday as you know, the forecast can always take a hard right hand turn with these spring storms. Enjoy your Sunday!