Weatherdem's Weblog

Bridging climate science, citizens, and policy

Possible Record Heat In Denver Area Today

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I’d bet a good number of metro area folks have heard the forecast for today: HOT! The record high of 98F for the day will likely be challenged. Here is the official forecast discussion from the Denver-Boulder NWS office this morning (sorry for the all-caps, it’s what the NWS text products actually look like):

SHORT TERM…A HOT AND DRY DAY IS IN STORE FOR THE FORECAST AREA TODAY WITH RECORD OR NEAR RECORD HEAT. THE UPPER LEVEL RIDGE WILL AMPLIFY A BIT OVER THE STATE WITH WARMER TEMPERATURES ALOFT. MOST SHORT RANGE MODEL GUIDANCE SHOWS 2-3C OF WARMING ACROSS NORTHEAST COLORADO FROM 24 HOURS AGO. AT THE SAME TIME…THE AIRMASS WILL BE DRYING AND THIS HAS ALREADY COMMENCED PER THE LATEST GPS INTEGRATED PRECIPITABLE WATER DATA. THIS ALL SUPPORTS RECORD OR NEAR RECORD HEAT. DENVERS RECORD IS 98F SET IN 1986…AND AT THIS POINT SEE NO REASON WE SHOULDNT AT LEAST TIE THIS RECORD GIVEN THE ABOVE MENTIONED FACTORS. THERE IS A SLIGHT RISK WE COULD REACH 100F…AND IF WE DID THAT WOULD BE THE LATEST IN THE SEASON A 100F DEGREE READING HAS BEEN OBSERVED. THE LATEST RECORDED 100F WAS ON AUGUST 16TH IN 2002.

There have been 38 90F+ days recorded at DIA so far this summer. That isn’t enough to crack the top-10 summers of all time since the 10th place year had 50 90F+ days, but it is above average (33 days). Last year, DIA recorded 49 90F+ days.

As the NWS office notes, this would be the latest calendar date which recorded a 100F+ day. While we haven’t experienced the ridiculous heat wave and drought that has afflicted Oklahoma (which set the record for hottest month for any state in the American history in July) or Texas, the total number of 90F+ days is significant for us considering how abnormally cool May was.

The relatively high number of 90F+ days in recent years (5 of the top 10 have occurred since 2000) and the late date at which 100F+ days occur are exactly the kind of events that have and will continue to become more prevalent as climate change effects take hold. After all, would dozens of 90F+ days be piling up with “global cooling”, especially when dozens of 32F- days are not piling up? Additionally, the precipitation extremes that occurred last month around the metro area (i.e., 7″+ of rain in 9 days) will also become more common.

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