What is this about roller coasters? This is a weather blog not a critique of theme parks. What I left out of the title of this post is that I am talking about roller coaster weather, and this is the season we start seeing it. As we head into Autumn, cold frontal passages here in the Front Range Foothills become more frequent as cold air builds up over the northern fringes of the North American Continent. It is still relatively warm over the United States and Mexico, and this sets up a clash between warm and cold air masses – and you guessed it Colorado is sometimes stuck in the middle. It can be 70 F one day, 40 F the next day, and then 65 F the following day. Those schizophrenic temperatures remind me of a roller coaster. One day you need a jacket, the next day it is warm enough for shorts.
The first teases of colder weather to come usually occur in late August and continue through September. By October, it can be cold enough to snow here in Nederland, even though the temperature roller coaster usually keeps it from sticking around very long. This table shows the maximum observed snowfall for each day in October from my 9 years of weather data here at our home in Nederland, Colorado . The missing days had no measurable snowfall in this period of record:
Surprisingly, over the nearly 10 years we have lived here, we have seen measurable snowfall on nearly each day of October, with a few instances of some decent snowfalls.
Back to our forecast, we will be visited by three cold fronts over the next week. The first one will be on our doorstep on Wednesday. This one will be weak only dropping our temperatures by 5 degrees or so below what they were on Tuesday. The second cold front will push through on Friday. This one will be colder and should bring some moisture. It has been a while since it has rained here, and any rain on Friday afternoon and evening will be welcome. After what looks to be a spectacular weekend, a strong cold front will visit us early next week. This one could bring a few flakes of snow to Nederland and the Northern Front Range Foothills. It will also bring the first wide spread freeze of the season, at least in the Foothills communities.
The specifics of this forecast will change somewhat over the next several days, but the weather models have been consistent with the overall weather pattern. Stay tuned!