You’ve been warned: The Fourth of July forecast isn’t looking as good as it could along the Front Range.
While many fireworks displays are already canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, any remaining outdoor displays across Colorado could be in jeopardy due to slow-moving showers and thunderstorms. The threat of flooding is also elevated this weekend.
Temperatures will likely reach 90 degrees or above in Denver on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and there is a chance for afternoon showers and storms on all three days.
More significantly, any storms that do develop on the Fourth of July (and on Friday and Sunday) will have an added heavy rain and flood risk to them.
The jet stream will be well north of Colorado this weekend, and with lighter winds at the middle and upper levels of the atmosphere, there won’t be much pushing along storms that do develop.
Meanwhile, a southeasterly wind will draw up moisture from the Gulf of Mexico. That moisture could well maximize on Saturday as a ridge of high pressure strengthens over the Four Corners.
This weekend’s thunderstorm setup could be compared to a train car off a track; a lack of steering currents mean that this weekend’s storms will likely sit and douse areas for a prolonged period. That’s different from more typical eastern Colorado afternoon thunderstorms, which tend to move relatively quickly.
“These storms will be slow moving and capable of producing moderate to heavy rain,” the National Weather Service office in Boulder wrote on Tuesday about the possible Fourth of July storms. “This will cause flooding concerns to increase into the evening hours on Saturday.”
Slow-moving storms will also be in place across the mountains as well, though the highest risk for stormy weather will be along the Continental Divide and points east. If you are camping this weekend, flood-prone and low-lying spots near creeks, streams and rivers should probably be avoided.
Historically, Denver’s chances of seeing wet weather on the Fourth of July are relatively slim. Only about a quarter (26%) of Denver’s Fourth of Julys have featured measurable precipitation, though last year’s Fourth did feature nearly a quarter inch of rainfall from an afternoon storm.
Denver’s average high on the Fourth of July is 87 degrees, with an average low of 59. This year looks to be warmer than that, though stormy weather could be the big weather story this weekend.
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