The big story yesterday was the line of severe weather that effected many areas up and down the front range. As usual, storms were spotty and not everyone saw the benefit of heavy rain or the scariness of large hail. Below is the 24 hour observed rainfall interpolated and layered on a map. You can see the Palmer Divide (especially Douglas county and El paso county) were the big winners in terms of rainfall with many areas receiving over an inch of rain in a very short period of time.
Some Observed Rainfall Amounts
Air Force Academy: 1.42 inches
Black forest: 0.87 inches
Castle Pines: 0.99 inches
Castle Rock: 1.26 inches
Elbert: 0.33 inches
Lone Tree: 0.12 inches
Monument: 0.9 inches
Parker: 0.15 inches
As you can see, the rain was very hit and miss. If you didn't fall under these storms you probably didn't see a whole lot of moisture yesterday.
Models Nearly Nailed It!
The HRRR model wins the gold star for yesterday as it was pretty spot on where the heaviest storms hit. In terms of timing however, it was off by about an hour or so... won't dwell on that too much as models often struggle with either positioning, timing or both in some cases.
This model in particular had a large storm impacting Castle Rock and quite a few portions of the Palmer Divide with nearly every run yesterday which gave us higher confidence that the Palmer Divide would be the "bullseye" for this severe weather event... and it was!
A Few Other Thoughts/Observations About the June 26,2020 Severe Storms
- Storms popped about an hour or so earlier than originally forecast
- The early release of energy in the atmosphere may have actually tempered these storms down a bit - less tornado/large hail risk
- Atmosphere Setup
- The instability was very strong for Colorado and tornadoes early in the storm cycle were possible but the window was narrow.
- Once storms matured there was only about a 60 minute window of good conditions for tornaodes... once storms began to merge and bow the tornado threat dropped. Several wall clouds and even a funnel cloud or two was spotted but beyond that no tornado touchdowns reported
- Instability was sufficient for strong updrafts and we should have seen much more widespread/large hail but that didn't materialize for a lot of places (for the reasons I spoke about above)
In what has been a very quiet year for storm chasing this year, I was finally able to get out and do a bit of storm chasing yesterday. We had plenty of company, I saw tons of other storm chasers out there and even stumbled upon a Storm Chase Tour Group.
Here's a few pics and notes about what I saw:
A relatively exciting day in a long line of relatively boring days in terms of weather around here. As we look forward there is another smaller chance of severe storms today (06/27/2020) but nowhere near the threat of yesterday.
Just make sure to keep an eye out this afternoon for any storms. They won't be as widespread as yesterday but the chance will still be there for a very isolated strong/severe thunderstorm.