While this year has been less windy than last year, when the wind has blown this year, it has been insane. Last week had three wind events that produced wind gusts in excess of 60 mph up and down I-25, with gusts to 100 mph west of I-25 north of Denver. Our weather pattern is locked in to a wind producing pattern, that likely is not going to change soon.
Enter our next wind event...Tuesday. A strong storm system will be organizing just to the north of Colorado on Tuesday. This will mean heavy snow and wind along and west of the Continental Divide, and a lot of wind at lower elevations. When we forecast wind, a lot of time we look at the mid levels of the atmosphere. If strong wind exists there, and there is a liklihood of it getting mixed down to the surface, it gives us a good idea of what to expect. Here is the wind forecast on Tuesday morning:
700 mb level is up a ways, but find Colorado and notice a hard southwest wind of 45 to 65 mph. Given the setup, I am expecting it to be pretty windy to start the day on Tuesday and it will likely get worse. In fact, here is the wind forecast for later Tuesday afternoon:
Notice now that the wind is from the west/northwest running from 45 to 65 mph. Areas between Cheyenne and Fort Collins even have some progged wind between 65 and 85 mph. Yes, Tuesday is looking very wind... However, with the storm centered over southern South Dakota, that puts it way too far north for most of eastern Colorado to see any moisture. So, we are going to have to worry about a damaging wind threat for some, and fire danger for everyone east of I-25.
The pattern you see above is responsible for the periods of strong wind. As the seasonal change gets closer, and if the jet stream remains consolidated into one potent stream (typical of La Nina), more wind events will be in our future.
Chief Meteorologist Brian Bledsoe