Hazy and Hot Days Ahead

Fire danger | Castle Rock Smoke | Castle Rock Fires | Colorado Fires | Palmer Divide Weather

Take a quick look at an overlay of large active fires and surface winds this morning in Colorado and you’ll see exactly where the smoke is coming from. Large fires to the Southwest and South with strong winds from the Southwest and South are acting as a conveyor belt to move all of that smoke into the area. The smell is quite strong, so be aware that air quality issues will exist today.

As of the time of this article writing, there are no large fires active in Elbert or Douglas County. That being said, don’t let your guard down; extreme fire conditions exist today for a good chunk of the Palmer Divide and nearly all of Central and Western Colorado.

Fire danger | Castle Rock Smoke | Castle Rock Fires | Colorado Fires | Palmer Divide Weather

Fire Danger will be extreme today so be vigilant, no burning or activities that create a spark and/or flame. Additionally, if you see an area of smoke (that isn’t related to what we already have in the air) call 911 and report it immediately.

It looks like we will have a few more days of conditions like this until our pattern changes early next week. Hopefully that will offer us a bit of relief from the heat and the dry conditions. We will have more details on that this weekend!

By the way, you can see active fire information here.

Elephant Rock Race 2018 Forecast for Castle Rock and Palmer Divide

The “unofficial” kick of to cycling season will start this weekend in Castle Rock as cyclists can choose a variety of courses that vary in length and difficulty. Colorado’s weather is known to be quite changeable, but the good news this year is that the overall weather is excepted to be calm. The only thing folks may have to content with is an extreme in temperatures, mainly in the morning and possible in the afternoon for the longer routes.

Without further ado, here’s a breakdown of temperatures and conditions throughout the day(with estimated time-frames):

Pre-Race

Registration pickups and positioning at the start line starts at 5:00AM. Temperatures will be a bit chilly in the upper 40’s and low 50’s but the wind will make it feel like low to mid 40’s. Be prepared to have some warmer gear to start but you will probably end up shedding it very soon.

Castle Rock Forecast at 5AM
Temperature
Conditions
Low 50’s with pockets of upper 40’sMostly sunny
Winds 10-15mph out of the South
Apparent Temperate in the mid 40’s

Elephant Rock Weather | Castle Rock Weather | Palmer Divide Weather | Elephant Rock Forecast

 

Century (100 Mile Route) and Metric Century (62 Mile Route) Start

Not much change by the time the 2 longer routes get rolling. Expect mostly sunny to partly cloudy skies along with light winds and apparent temperature in the mid 50’s. Temperatures will begin to warm up at this time but should still be relatively comfortable if not a bit chilly.

Castle Rock Forecast between 6-8AM
Temperature
Conditions
Upper 50’s with pockets of low 60’s
Low 50’s and upper 40’s in higher elevation areas
to the South
Partly Cloudy
Winds 10-15mph out of the South
Apparent Temperate in the upper 40’s

Elephant Rock Weather | Castle Rock Weather | Palmer Divide Weather | Elephant Rock Forecast

 

40 Mile and 27 Mile Routes Start

Weather conditions will maintain through the start times of the next two routes, temperatures will be slightly warmer but still cool and sky’s will be mostly clear to partly cloudy. The only change is the wind is expected to pick up slightly as we progress through the morning.

Castle Rock Forecast between 8-9AM
Temperature
Conditions
Upper 50’s with pockets of low 60’s
50’s in higher elevation areas
to the South
Partly Cloudy
Winds 15-20mph out of the South
Apparent Temperate in the mid 50’s

Elephant Rock Weather | Castle Rock Weather | Palmer Divide Weather | Elephant Rock Forecast

 

Late Morning (Events in progress)

Temperatures will begin to transition warmer as the morning goes on and the biggest challenge we really see at this time is wind is expected to pick up. Expect sustained winds in the 15-20mph range with gusts into the 30mph range. This will become a bit of a challenge for riders on the longer routes still making their way South, but riders heading North will be happy with the tail-wind.

Castle Rock Forecast between 9AM-12PM
Temperature
Conditions
Upper 60’s with pockets of low 70’sPartly Cloudy
Winds 15-20mph out of the South
Gusting to 30mph

Elephant Rock Weather | Castle Rock Weather | Palmer Divide Weather | Elephant Rock Forecast

Sustained wind speeds for 11AM

Early Afternoon (Longer Routes in Progress)

Temperatures will reach their afternoon highs in the mid 70’s during this time. Winds out of the Southwest and South will help riders heading back with a nice push. Wind speeds overall will increase a bit but model guidance has them topping out in the 15-20mph range with gusts in the 30-35mph range. There is a small (20% chance) of a stray thunderstorm in the area during the afternoon.

Castle Rock Forecast between 12PM-3PM
Temperature
Conditions
Low to mid 70’sPartly to Mostly Cloudy
Winds 15-20mph out of the South
Gusting to 30-35mph
20% chance of thunderstorms
Elephant Rock Weather | Castle Rock Weather | Palmer Divide Weather | Elephant Rock Forecast

Sustained wind speeds for 1PM

Late Afternoon (Longer Routes Finish)

As the last few folks make it over the finish line we will see partly cloudy to mostly cloudy skies across the area. Surprisingly, winds are supposed to relax a tad later in the afternoon, the exception will be near any thunderstorms in the area as gusty outflow winds may make things tricky around those storms.

Castle Rock Forecast between 3PM-5PM
Temperature
Conditions
Low to mid 70’sMostly Cloudy
Winds 10-15mph out of the South
Gusting to 20-30mph
20% chance of thunderstorms
Elephant Rock Weather | Castle Rock Weather | Palmer Divide Weather | Elephant Rock Forecast

Sustained wind speeds for 3PM

Summary

Overall not too bad of a day weather wise, the heat won’t be oppressive, temperatures will be cooler and the only real challenge will be the wind. Honestly, if you time the longer routes right and are heading back by the time the winds pick up they may actually help more than hinder.

Other than that, please remember the sunscreen, while it won’t be super hot the UV index will be quite high so sunburn is possible within an hour or less… especially once the sun is up and cranking after 9-10am.

Thanks for reading, I’ll be at the race so if you see me say hi!

~John

 

5/28/2018 – Heads Up! Severe Weather Expected Today!

What’s Going on Today

Today looks to be an active thunderstorm day with severe weather expected across much of Northeastern Colorado. The main threat out of theses storms is large, damaging hail but given the low level  moisture and wind profiles there is an isolated tornado risk as well.

The Storm Prediction Center has highlighted some areas of NE Colorado with a significant hail risk. This means some storms are expected to have “damaging/ significant hail greater than 2 inches in diameter.” Hail of this size could cause significant damage so please stay very aware this afternoon if you are in any of the risk areas.

One more thing…

The Palmer Divide region is highlighted for a medium risk of tornado activity today. While these won’t be widespread by any means, the risk is there and people need to be aware of it. If you are outside and doing your BBQ this afternoon, keep an eye on the sky and have a good way to get weather warnings.

Timing/Hazards

Severe storms will kick off most likely after 2PM, morning models have the Palmer Divide region getting especially active between the 3-5pm hour.

Stay aware in case storms kick off earlier in the afternoon, we’ve seen this a couple of times this year. Have an eye out after 12PM just to be sure.

Primary Threats

  • Large, damaging hail in excess of 2 inches
  • Strong winds
  • Cloud to ground lightning
  • Medium Tornado Risk primarily along the Palmer Divide

Models consistently show the Palmer Divide as an area of high activity today. Please stay weather aware if you are in these areas!

 

I will be on and off social media today, as always we are a great source of weather but not the best for live warnings. For that I recommend a phone app with a warning system or stay tuned to local TV. The National Weather Service in Denver also has a Facebook Page and a Twitter where they post weather warnings.I may storm chase today, if so I’ll be sharing things to my Twitter and Facebook Pages.

Stay safe out there today!

~John

5/32/3028 – A Taste of Summer This Week

The Week Ahead

After bouts of severe weather last week including storms that brought hail, heavy rain and winds to the area we will quiet things down nicely this week. The overall weather pattern is already beginning to transition into something we tend to see in summer with warmer temperatures riding into the area with Southwesterly flow and drier conditions as thunderstorms struggle to build in a more stable atmosphere.

When we look at total precipitation expected this week, numbers will be much less impressive. Storms will struggle to gain much traction outside of the mountain areas and that means drier conditions along the front range. The GFS model below shows very little to no precipitation this week through late Saturday.

Colorado Weather | Spring Weather | Castle Rock Weather | Palmer Divide Weather | Douglas County Weather | Elbert County Weather

Expected precipitation through Sunday midnight (GFS model)

While the pattern looks “summery” this week, it won’t be particularly too hot in and around Colorado. The areas that will see the heat will be just East of Colorado; Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas will see temperatures in the 90’s by later this week and I wouldn’t be surprised to see some areas flirt with 100 degrees.

GFS high temperatures for 5/26/2018, most of the week will feature warm temperatures for the middle of the country.

Closer to Home

I’ve attached the NWS forecast for Castle Rock this week below, you can always view this forecast (updated all day ever day in 15 minute intervals) on our Castle Rock Weather Forecast Page.

We will keep an eye out for any changes but beyond a spotty thunderstorm here and there it should be a relatively quiet and warm week. Have a great Monday!

Severe Weather Threat Continues This Week

5/14/2018

A line of strong and severe storms moved across the Palmer Divide bringing hail, rain, lightning and wind. No tornadoes were sighted or reported, but given the dynamics we expected that. The chance for any tornadoes was quite low overall, but storms certainly had enough energy for hail!

Severe Storms | Hail | Colorado Weather | Colorado Hail Season | Palmer Divide Severe Weather

While we don’t always have the time to do real-time weather warnings and alerts (that’s best for NWS or your phone apps) we did pick up on this storm 40 minutes before it moved into Castle Rock!

The storm mainly effected areas of Northern Castle Rock and Castle Pines. When it moved East it got into a more favorable atmosphere and really took off.

Severe Storms | Hail | Colorado Weather | Colorado Hail Season | Palmer Divide Severe Weather

Severe T-Storm Warnings were issued as the storm moved East and began to drop larger hail in these areas.


Tuesday 5/15/2018 Another Active Day

As we are moving into the most active time of the year for severe weather, what we are seeing this week is absolutely normal for Colorado. Warm sunny mornings give-way to cloudy early afternoons and by mid to late afternoon we see the chance for storms. Given the energy in the atmosphere and cooler temperatures aloft, severe weather is a good possibility but remember severe storms are spotty in coverage.

Tuesday’s marginal risk area covers a lot of the same ground as Monday but more of Eastern and Southeastern Colorado is included. Again, there is a very small risk for tornadoes but the main threats will be hail, wind, lightning and heavy rain. A marginal risk means storms will be extremely isolated so most areas won’t be impacted, but those that do get a storm could see any of those conditions I mentions above.

HRRR forecast radar around 4-5PM Tuesday May 15, 2018

The HRRR model nailed the placement on yesterday’s storms, however it was off on the timing. Nevertheless; today is has the Palmer Divide as a very active region for storms, so if you are on that area stay very aware this afternoon. The Castle Rock/Elizabeth/ South Parker corridor could be very active again this afternoon.

What to Expect

  • Primary Threats
    • Heavy rain
    • Frequent lightning
    • Strong winds
    • Small/medium sized hail
    • Small chance for tornadoes
  • Timing
    • Models had trouble with timing yesterday so this is a bit tricky
    • I’d be on the lookout after 2-3PM today
  • Follow a trustworthy weather source with real-time weather alerts and warning information (TV and Cell Phone Apps are good sources for this!)

Our Weather Warnings Update Page is a good source for watches and warnings for Castle Rock too!


The Rest of the Week

The rest of the week looks active, with the severe threat shifting eastward and back westward depending on the day. The two days to pay attention to are Thursday and Friday. Thursday has a slight risk covering Northeastern Colorado and the SPC outlooks are already pegging Friday as a more active day East of Denver and along the Palmer Divide. Stay with us here and we’ll be sure to update throughout the week as more data comes in.

 

5/10/2018 – Record Heat Followed by Unsettled Weekend

Thursday Will Be Downright Toasty!

Temperature records will be set to fall for many areas across Colorado’s Front Range on Thursday. Warm air from the Southwest will continue to funnel into the state making for breezy conditions, low humidity and record high temperatures. Castle Rock looks to come up just short of setting a new record (probably due to elevation keeping us a bit cooler) but bigger neighbors Denver and Colorado Springs look likely to set new records.

High Fire Danger Thursday

A Red Flag Warning is up for many areas of Southeastern and South Central Colorado. This means no burning or activities that create a spark or flame. Areas just to the North will experience high fire conditions as well but don’t meet criteria for the Warning. Still… be very, very careful in and around the Warning area.

The Weekend looks Unsettled

At one time, the storm moving in this weekend looked like a soaker (much like we had last weekend) but models have significantly backed off on precipitation totals. Many areas along the Palmer Divide now look to be in the 30%-60% of seeing any rain. Those areas that are lucky enough to see rain will most likely see below 0.5 inches. This is unfortunate as we really could have used the rain for a lot of these areas.

We’ll keep an eye on the forecast for any changes but for now; expect a cooler Saturday and Sunday with breezy conditions. If you have outdoor plans I’d pack some rain gear just in case and some warm-ish clothes wouldn’t be a bad idea either. Of the two days, Sunday looks like the best possibility for rain in the morning but no sure shot on that.

Coming Soon!

Don’t forget, live streams and Vlogs are coming soon. Stay tuned for more details, but should be a fun way to connect and discuss our interest and love for weather. If nothing else, you’ll get to see my smiling face!Have a happy Thursday!

 

5/1/2018 – Kicking Off Storm Season with a Bang

Marginal Risk of Severe Weather for Colorado Today

Colorado Severe Weather | Palmer Divide Weather | Severe Storms | SPC Outlook for Colorado | Hail | Strong Storms

SPC Outlook for May 1 places Northeastern Colorado with a Marginal Risk for Severe Weather. Other areas are under a “general thunderstorm” risk.

The latest Storm Prediction Center outlook has Northeastern Colorado under a marginal risk for severe weather today. This means that the risk is overall low for strong to severe storms but high enough that a few scattered storms may break out in the region. Surrounding areas in the “General Thunderstorm” risk could also see a widely scattered storm grow into something strong or severe but no largely organized severe events are expected in those areas.

This severe weather risk is all part of a strong storm system moving through Colorado and into the central United States. Areas East of Colorado will have a much higher risk for organized severe weather events including large hail and a decent chance at tornadoes.

Colorado Severe Weather | Palmer Divide Weather | Severe Storms | SPC Outlook for Colorado | Hail | Strong Storms

Parts of Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa will have an “enhanced” risk for severe weather on Tuesday.

By the way, if you haven’t brushed up on your Severe Weather Risk Categories and what they mean; here’s the reference chart:

Closer to Home

2PM simulated radar for 5/1/2018 (HRRR Model – convective allowing)

Models bring decently sized thunderstorms to the Northeastern plains, closer to the Palmer Divide they struggle to maintain strength for very long. This is a pattern seen across many models and the low level moisture doesn’t look great in the forecast soundings…

Simulated sounding N. Douglas County around 2PM

That being said, there may be enough instability and mid-level wind shear that a stronger storm could pop up in our area. The sounding above supports it, but I see a “pulse storm” situation very likely this afternoon. This means that we may get a storm to survive long enough with the right conditions to become strong to borderline severe, so definitely keep an eye out!

What to Expect

If you’re in or around Castle Rock, expect storms possible after 12PM, becoming more likely after 2PM. We don’t expect a widespread severe storm event for the Palmer Divide but can’t rule out a stray pop-up stronger or severe storm. The main threats out of these storms will be high winds and the possibility of hail.

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)

Accumulation

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)

Accumulation

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.