As Boulder County faces the prospect of record-breaking heat this weekend, forecasters say it‘s a sampling of the weather to which area residents could grow accustomed this summer.
After a pleasant May with above-average rain leaving the area a lustrous green, it appears more toasty times are on tap for the northern Front Range.
The record for Saturday‘s date in Boulder is 91 (set in 1969) and for Sunday‘s date it is 92 (set in 2006). There is a chance that one, or both of those marks, could be topped.
Longmont‘s record for Saturday‘s date is 90, set in 1969, and for Sunday it is 93, reached in 1895, according to Natalie Sullivan at the National Weather Service in Boulder.
Longmont has an expected high of 90 on Saturday and 86 on Sunday.
“We have a pretty darned good chance of hitting 90 or the low 90s on Saturday, and even on Sunday we could see the 90s again,” said Russell Danielson, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Boulder.
Citing an outlook provided by The Weather Co., that the western United States this summer should be warmer than average, with some areas, including western Colorado, in July reaching “much above average.”
Factors contributing to the forecast, according to Weather Underground, include warming in the tropical equatorial Pacific Ocean and the lack of a blocking upper-level pattern in the North Atlantic Ocean.
The for June, July and August also shows a probability of warmer-than-average temperatures across Colorado — most intensely so in the Four Corners area.
Amelia Tropman, 11, wears her mermaid tail at Sunset Pool in Longmont on Friday afternoon during the first day of the pool s season. (Lewis Geyer / Staff Photographer)
“The forecasts for the summertime are looking warmer than normal. Especially west of the divide — Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah — we have a pretty high confidence in a warmer summer,” said Colorado State Climatologist Russ Schumacher. “We have a little less confidence east of the divide in Colorado. But still, I would say the odds are definitely pointing toward a warmer than normal summer.”
Bob Henson, , agreed.
“It certainly looks like a warm early start to summer,” he said. “There is a pretty intense drought in the southern high plains right now, and that‘s going to favor hot high pressure over the southern plains. And often you‘ll see upper-level heat domes forming in conjunction with a developing drought.”
Henson explained that the “interactivity” between intense sun and soil left parched by a drought can contribute to a continuing warm-up.
The Boulder County area can often see a moderate amount of cooling moisture in early June, Henson said. It appears that won‘t be happening this year.
“It doesn‘t look super-favorable for a lot of that early-June moisture right now, so that is going to further allow things to dry out,” Henson said. “Once you get beyond a couple weeks, it‘s harder to say. But the seasonal outlooks are favoring warmer than usual.”
pointed out that Boulder has received 4.45 inches of rain in May, with 3.11 inches being the average for the entire month.
“The lush green grasses might actually shave a degree or two off the temperatures because some of the sun‘s energy goes to evaporation rather than heating,” he said in an email. “Parched, dry ground would heat up more quickly. Other parts of the state are drier, so there‘s some risk of wildfire to the west and south of Denver-Boulder.”
Kelsch offered a statistical note of interest relating to local temperatures.
“The last night that we had in the 30s was 37 on May 4,” he said. “Since the current climate station was established in 1990, that is the earliest date for the last minimum in the 30s,” providing Boulder‘s temperatures don‘t sink that low again in June, which Kelsch doesn‘t think is likely given the current weather pattern.
Experts are already on record as saying that hotter summers on the Front Range are expected to be the norm in years to come. The .
On the immediate horizon, however, temperatures are forecast to moderate back into the 80s on Monday, with more moisture in the air and a chance for thunderstorms also rumbling into the picture.