June & Severe Weather

June 1, 1008:

May was a terrible severe weather month for much of the United States.  Numerous deaths, tremendous damage, and many, many, tornadoes.  The Windsor tornado on May 23rd was responsible for $147 million in damage and one fatality.  However, most of the severe weather has been confined to our east.  Will that change in June ?  Right now, it is tough to say.  June is normally Colorado's most active severe weather month.  Over 40% of all the tornadoes that occur in Colorado, occur during the month of June.  One of the most notable tornadoes in Colorado history.  On June 6th, 1990, an F-3 tornado destroyed much of the town of Limon.  This event peaked my interest in Meteorology.  I had just completed my Freshman year of high school, and this weather event was responsible for pushing me into the field of Meteorology.    For all of you weather geeks out there, I have supplied a detailed link to the mechanics of that severe weather day, in eastern Colorado:  http://ams.allenpress.com/archive/1520-0434/9/1/pdf/i1520-0434-9-1-45.pdf

Large hail, damaging winds, flash flooding, and dangerous lightning are all part of a normal June in Colorado.  However, this year has been a little different.  The "dryline" ( the boundary between hot and dry air to the west and warm, moist air to the east ) has been moving away from the mountains during the early part of the day.  By afternoon, it has been located along or just east of HWY 71.  Thus, what little severe weather we have had this season, has been confined to the far Eastern Plains.  This has to do with the ongoing drought conditions, across our area.  The dry ground can heat up more effectively, and each day it doesn't receive rain, it can heat up even quicker the next day.  Most of the time, our moisture level is pretty shallow around here.  Meaning, the moisture doesn't extend very high up into the atmosphere.  With the rapid heating during the morning, the atmosphere churns itself up and sends the dryline east.  The wind is a big player in this process.  Once our wind turns to the southwest, west, or northwest, that means the dryline has been sent east, and our rain chances diminish considerably.  

While it is tough to say if this pattern will continue into June, the odds are in favor of it continuing.  Most of our long range computer models keep the jet stream to our north, and the best low level moisture ( fuel for thunderstorms) to our east.  While we will still see severe weather days, they may be limited this year.  Simply put, I think we will be talking more about fire danger and drought, than hail and tornadoes.  Nevertheless you always need to have a severe weather plan that you can put into effect, in case severe weather threatens your area.

Chief Meteorologist Brian Bledsoe 

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by hardeep singh Location: ludhiana on Jul 6, 2008 at 01:49 AM
    temperature of june
  • by Anne Location: C/S on Jun 4, 2008 at 06:48 AM
    There is alot of talk about the Arkansas river swelling..What about the platte? I was up fishing this last weekend on the south fork, and I have never seen the water so low. Has the runoff not hit yet? Sure was great fishing though!
  • by Brian Location: Weather Center on Jun 3, 2008 at 09:17 PM
    Yeah Tim, it was a little active earlier this afternoon. Looking ahead, I think it will be quite an active day tomorrow ( June 4th ) for the north and northeastern part of the state. However, I think the largest severe weather outbreak with this storm system will arrive on Thursday afternoon and night in the Central Plains. Some of the severe weather parameters across KS on Thursday are very impressive. Large tornadoes once again appear likely... Regarding the Limon outflow boundary, I think terrain and L developing just east of the mountains kept it near Limon. That was a very changeable day, and those severe storms continued well into the night. That was the first time I ever heard the terms "supercell" and " mesoscale convective system". That night provided the most vivid lightning I have ever seen. I too, would have targeted areas to the northeast. Nice to have a chaser and knowledgeable weather "geek" frequenting our blog. Thanks for reading.
  • by Tim Location: Colorado Springs on Jun 3, 2008 at 04:54 PM
    As if cued by your post, we had an interesting couple of hours after lunch today. I found a good deal of hail while out and about today, the largest being golfball sized NE of Falcon. The case you posted regarding the Limon tornado is an interesting read. Had you asked me to pick a target based on the data from that morning, I would have put money on Akron and points north and east. The impact of the OFB from the KS/NE storms was impressive. My question for you is, what do you think cause the OFB to stall out just east of Limon? I may have overlooked it in the paper, but I don't remember them referencing a reason.
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