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Ah, you gotta love spring in Colorado. Will we get record heat? A huge snowstorm? Will gale-force winds rip through? Torrential rain? It’s a meteorologist’s playground on the Front Range, and this week’s forecast proves that.
A classic upslope storm—when winds are pushed up from the plains and into the mountains—is set to impact us Tuesday night and into Wednesday with plenty of precip and mild temps. That means lower elevations like in Denver, Fort Collins, and Colorado Springs should brace for an absolute deluge. Some imaging suggests we could see as many as two to three inches of rain. (Folks above 6,500 feet, like in some of the canyons above Boulder, could see a whopper of a snowstorm—think: 10 to 24 inches possible.) It will surely drown your baby tomato plants, but there is good news: Denver most likely won’t be in a drought after the last drops fall.
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To be sure, the Mile High City hasn’t been in a drought—or period with below-normal precipitation—for very long: just a week. After last Wednesday’s dud of a storm had us questioning if winter was gone, gone, gone, the U.S. Drought Monitor degraded Denver’s status to “moderate drought.” The Front Range hadn’t seen a significant weather event since February and no more than an inch of liquid in a day since August 21, 2022. To lose the drought status, Denver would need a little more than half an inch of water content to bring it back to normal precip for the year.
If the current predictions stand, Denver should see that half inch and then some: Rain is expected for 18 straight hours, from 5 p.m. Tuesday to roughly 11 a.m. Wednesday. It should generate enough moisture to completely saturate our grounds (and snarl traffic in the foothills and Palmer Divide region of I-25) and expedite the spring green-up.
We weren’t in a drought for long, but no time on that list is great—especially in a climate as fickle as ours.