With a huge ridge in place across the region, we discuss the possibility of record warmth in Denver to close out the week and right through the upcoming weekend.  How much longer will the heat last? Read on to find out!

The ridge that has developed across the central United States is more pronounced that the weather models were showing earlier in the week. The latest forecast representation for Thursday evening at 500 mb is shown below:


500 mb vorticity map for Thursday evening. Ridge axis right over Colorado!

As we close out the month of October, these 500 mb maps are clearly becoming MUCH busier. Our ridge is sandwiched between the trough over Seattle and a second one over the New England region. There’s also another, more sub-tropical system off the coast of California, and Hurricane Seymour in the very bottom left corner of the map.

Despite all the surrounding chaos, Colorado remains calm-as-can-be underneath the ever-lasting ridge, with warm air continuing to funnel northward. This is quite evident in the 800 mb temperature map below.

GFS 800 mb temperature map for Thursday evening. Warm air streaming northward across the Great Plains and Colorado

GFS 800 mb temperature map for Thursday evening. Warm air streaming northward across the Great Plains and Colorado

We’ll see several surges of warm air over the next few days, with multiple Autumn cold fronts attempting to push it back southward where it belongs. One attempt comes Saturday night, with the warm air probably winning out. Another arrives sometime Monday, which should ultimately knock our temperatures back down towards normal (but probably not all the way there!). We should be in the 50’s this time of year, not the 80’s! 

Amidst this warm October, where's the snow?

We’ll see the potential for record heat both Thursday and Friday. Boulder will probably tie or break the records both days. A slight cool-down over the weekend should take us out of record-contention, but mid to upper 70’s is still extraordinary for late October. Here’s a breakdown of our temperatures through Sunday…


As we mentioned last week, October 2016 will go down as one of our warmest of all time, likely making Boulder and Denver’s Top 10, or Top 5. The warmth over the next few days should scoot us right up the list.

In the longer-term, model ensembles continue to show very warm conditions lingering through the first week (or two!) of November. Enjoy yet another spectacular weekend! 

Why does the "true" fall equinox in Colorado occur four days late?

Ben Castellani

Ben grew up in western Pennsylvania and holds both a bachelor's and a master's degree in meteorology. He currently works on a programming language tailored for scientists at Harris Geospatial Solutions in Boulder.

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