Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Pueblo, CO

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FXUS65 KPUB 282205

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Pueblo CO
305 PM MST Fri Feb 28 2020

.SHORT TERM...(This evening through Saturday)
Issued at 303 PM MST Fri Feb 28 2020

Currently, outside of some thin high clouds over the southwest
mountains and San Luis Valley, skies are clear across the region.
Latest upper-level analysis indicates that a ridge of high pressure
continues to propagate towards Colorado, with the axis near the Utah
and Colorado border. Temperatures this afternoon have reached the
upper 50s to lower 60s across the plains and 40s and 50s in the high
valleys. Winds are generally light across the region with a few
exceptions, mainly in the mountains.

Tonight and tomorrow...The ridge of high pressure is expected to
continue propagating eastward and flatten out, bringing more
westerly flow aloft to the area. Lows tonight are forecast to be in
the 20s across the plains and teens to lower 20s in the high
valleys. The westerly flow aloft will bring very warm and dry
conditions to southern Colorado on Saturday, especially across the
plains south of Highway 50. Highs tomorrow are expected to reach the
upper 60s to to around 70 across the plains, and the 50s for many
locations in the high valleys. With relative humidity values
expected to drop below 15 percent, a high Haines Index indicating
instability, and dry fuels across eastern Las Animas and Baca County
tomorrow afternoon, elevated fire weather conditions are anticipated
for a few hours. However, winds are not expected to reach critical
fire weather criteria, and after some discussion with neighboring
offices and the Storm Prediction Center, have decided a Fire Weather
Watch is not needed at this time.

.LONG TERM...(Saturday night through Friday)
Issued at 303 PM MST Fri Feb 28 2020

Main forecast concerns/challenges are with increasing snow
chances for the Continental Divide on Sunday, and then increasing
snow chances for the remainder of the area Sunday night into
Monday morning, especially the I-25 corridor.

As southwest flow and a warmer air mass remain in place at the
start of the period, above normal warmth will continue on Sunday.
Temps are once again expected to rise into the 60s across the
plains, though temps may not be quite as warm as Saturday given
increasing cloud cover out ahead of the next system to impact the
region. This system will continue to dive south down the western
CONUS Saturday night into Sunday. As it does so, increasing
southwest flow and moisture out ahead of it should allow snow to
develop along the Continental Divide late Saturday night into
Sunday, and then likely continuing into Monday. At this time,
increasing coverage and intensity across this location looks to
really occur later in the day Sunday and once again continue into
Monday, with the highest totals looking to occur across the
eastern San Juan mountains.

Increasing chances for precip are still expected across the
plains Sunday night into Monday. Guidance still varying to some
degree with the larger scale setup, but guidance today is showing
a slightly more favorable setup for precip development across the
plains, especially in and around the I-25 corridor. Guidance now
indicating increasing mid and upper level flow with active mid
levels to move overhead Sunday night. As this occurs, will see a
cold front surge southward across Colorado with northerly winds
and gusts strengthening through the night. Should then see precip
spill into parts of northern El Paso county by mid to late evening
and with the initial warmer conditions, still expect to see a
varying ptype at the onset. However, strong CAA post FROPA will
quickly cool the column, with thermal profiles then likely
supporting all snow by late Sunday evening. Am now keeping an eye
on the potential to get a small window of more enhanced snow
development along I-25 from late Sunday evening to early Monday
morning. Previously advertised shallow upslope flow may be briefly
deeper during this time. Additionally, the anticipated CAA could
support steepening low and mid level lapse rates, which would
support a period of stronger snow development. Once again, the
highest potential looks to be in and around the I-25 corridor, but
higher confidence at this time is for El Paso county especially
the northern half. Accumulating snow would be possible though
expected to be on the lighter side. However, do have some concerns
on the potential intensity of the snow, stronger northerly winds,
as well as the time it is expected to fall, as it would impact
the Monday morning commute. Will continue to monitor this
possibility, and will likely increase messaging.

Should see snow diminish throughout the day on Monday area wide,
with a continued dry trend the general idea through the remainder
of the period. However, some guidance hinting at the possibility
for some stronger flow and shortwave energy to swing through the
region through mid week. So, have left the slight chance to chance
wording in the forecast at this time.


.AVIATION...(For the 00Z TAFS through 00Z Saturday evening)
Issued at 303 PM MST Fri Feb 28 2020

VFR conditions are expected for the next 24 hours at all 3 TAF sites
(KALS, KCOS, KPUB), with winds following the typical diurnal
pattern. Winds are anticipated to become breezy at all 3 sites
during the afternoon Saturday.




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