77°F
Thornton, Colorado, USA
UpdatedFri, 20-Oct-2017 3:25pm MDT 
 

Navigation

ThorntonWeather.com on Twitter

ThorntonWeather.com on Facebook

 

Weather Geek Stuff - weathergeekstuff.com

Rocky Mountain Weather Network

Tony's Takes Photography

ThorntonWeather.com

Recent News and Posts


First full day of summer may bring record-setting heat

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 5:12am MDT

Following on yesterday’s record-setting performance, the heat continues today when another high temperature record may be in jeopardy.

We start out the day with mostly sunny skies and while we can expect a few clouds above throughout the day, they will have little impact on the temperatures. Light winds will initially be out of the southwest, shifting to come from the northeast in the afternoon.

After about 3:00pm into the evening we see just the slightest chance for some scattered thunderstorms but we aren’t expecting much from any activity that does occur.

The real story for the day is going to be the heat. Denver’s record high temperature for today’s date is 99 degrees set in 2007 and our high temperature today is going to come close to matching that mark. Overnight tonight, we will see some relief with temps cooling into the mid-60s.

Our live weather gauges will let you keep an eye on the thermometer.

Join the Discussion - Post your commentJoin the Discussion!

Outdoor lightning safety – When thunder roars, go indoors

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017 5:00am MDT
When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors - Lightning Safety Poster (NOAA)

One simple phrase provides the most important safety tip for lightning – When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors. (NOAA)

Statistics provide insight into the dangers of severe weather and lightning is one of the most deadly.  Over the past decade Colorado has been the second deadliest state for lightning and many of these fatalities could have been avoided if the victims had remembered one key phrase: When thunder roars, go indoors.

From the National Weather Service:

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GRAND JUNCTION CO
600 AM MDT WED JUNE 21 2017

Colorado Lightning Safety Awareness Week continues through Saturday. Yesterday we discussed the science of lightning. Today we will cover outdoor lightning safety.

Outdoors is the most dangerous place to be during a thunderstorm.

Each year…nearly all people in the United States who are injured or killed by lightning were involved in an outdoor activity. They were struck while working outside…were at or participating at an outdoor sporting event…were boating or fishing. They were struck while hiking…mowing the lawn or simply going to or from their car.   Quite a few were on their own property when they were struck.

Unfortunately…there is no place outside that is safe from lightning. The only safe place to be when lightning is occurring is either inside a substantial building…or an enclosed automobile.

Here are some important things to remember before venturing outdoors…

An informed decision will help you avoid being in an area where lightning is expected to occur.  Before heading out…get an updated forecast. Stay tuned to NOAA weather radio…check national weather service web sites…or access your favorite weather apps on your cell phone for the latest forecast.

In Colorado…it is important to remember that thunderstorms typically develop in the mountains after 11 am.  So it is best to plan your climbing or hiking trip so that you are coming down the mountain by late morning.

If thunderstorms are in the forecast…consider planning an alternate indoor activity or make plans which will allow you to quickly get into a safe shelter.

Once you are outside…keep up-to-date on the weather via your smart phone or portable NOAA weather radio receiver. Check for updated forecasts. Check if storms are near you by checking the latest radar imagery on your cell phone. There are now several smart phone apps you can purchase that show you real-time lightning activity in your area. Do not forget to simply look around you to make sure storms are not developing in your vicinity.

We will now discuss two outdoor scenarios. The first is what to do if you are outdoors and a safe location is nearby…while the second scenario is what to do if you are outdoors and no safe location is nearby.

If you are outside…such as a park…a lake…or an outdoor sporting event…know where the nearest safe location is located at.

A safe location is any substantial building…such as a business…a home…or a church. Any enclosed hard topped automobile also offers excellent protection from lightning. Once you hear thunder or see lightning…immediately stop what you are doing and quickly get to the safe shelter. Do not wait until the rain starts to seek safe shelter. Once inside a safe shelter…it is recommended you stay there for 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder.

Past history has shown that most people who were outdoors and were injured or killed by lightning had access to a safe shelter nearby.

Do not wait to seek safe shelter when lightning threatens. When you hear thunder or see lightning…it is important for you…and your family…to act quickly.

It is critically important to avoid shelters that are not safe from lightning…including picnic shelters…bullpens…tents and any other small buildings that are open to the elements.

Never…never…get under a tree to seek shelter from lightning.

It is important that all sports leagues and other outdoor groups have a lightning response plan that is understood and consistently applied for the safety of the participants. Part of the plan would include a designated weather watcher at each outdoor event with the authority to postpone or cancel the event due to the threat of lightning. It is also important that people know where to seek safe shelter if a storm threatens. As we have seen recently…the NCAA…the NFL and MLB now delay games when lightning is in the area.

Our second scenario involves what you can do to reduce your chances of being injured or killed by lighting if no safe shelter is nearby.

This situation typically occurs to people who are hiking or camping in the backcountry. Unfortunately…in this scenario…there is not much you can do to reduce your risk from being struck by lightning.

The best thing to do is move away from tall isolated objects…such as trees. Stay away from wide open areas. Stay as low as possible with your feet close together if lightning is nearby. If you are with a group of people…spread out…that way if someone is struck by lightning…the others can offer first aid. If camping in the backcountry…place your tent in a low area away from tall isolated trees.

Remember…when thunder roars…go indoors!

There are a couple of web sites that contain additional lightning information.

NOAA’s lightning website which contains abundant information on lightning safety can be found at…

WWW.LIGHTNINGSAFETY.NOAA.GOV

Lightning information specific for the state of Colorado can be found at…

WWW.WEATHER.GOV/PUB/LIGHTNING

The lightning topic for tomorrow will be on indoor lightning safety.

Lightning Safety and Wildfire Awareness Series:

Join the Discussion - Post your commentJoin the Discussion!

Record high temperature set for June 20

Tuesday, June 20th, 2017 5:09pm MDT

Record High TemperaturesWe knew it would be hot today and the proof is in the numbers as Denver set a new record high temperature for the date.

According to the National Weather Service, the mercury topped out at 99 degrees at Denver International Airport.  This breaks the previous record high for June 20 of 97 degrees set in 2007.

Here in Thornton, we almost matched the record with a high of 97.9 degrees at 3:57pm.

There will be no break from the heat until Friday.

Tomorrow’s forecast high of 98 degrees mirrors today’s high and will again come close to the record for June 21 (99 degrees in 2007). Thursday does cool some but with a forecast high of 91 degrees, the reading will still be well above normal for the date (85 degrees).

  • Stay up to date with Thornton’s weather: Be sure to ‘like’ us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and add us to your Google+ circles.
Join the Discussion - Post your commentJoin the Discussion!

Yellowstone Supervolcano Hit by a Swarm of Earthquakes

Tuesday, June 20th, 2017 3:04pm MDT

Yellowstone supervolcano has been hit by a series of earthquakes, with more 30 recorded since June 12. The latest was recorded on Monday, June 19, with a magnitude 3 earthquake striking 8.6 miles north north-east of West Yellowstone, Montana. The swarm began last week, and on June 15 saw a magnitude 4.5 earthquake take place in… » Click here to read the rest of Yellowstone Supervolcano Hit by a Swarm of Earthquakes

Join the Discussion - Post your commentJoin the Discussion!

Summer solstice ushers in astronomical summer, longest day of the year

Tuesday, June 20th, 2017 7:09am MDT
On the June solstice, the Earth’s northern hemisphere is tilted at its maximum toward the sun. The result is the longest day of the year for the northern part of the planet. (NASA)

On the June solstice, the Earth’s northern hemisphere is tilted at its maximum toward the sun. The result is the longest day of the year for the northern part of the planet. (NASA)

Astronomical summer arrives in Thornton tonight and with the solstice we will enjoy our longest day of the year.

Summer officially begins at 10:24pm MDT tonight.  The Summer Solstice occurs when the North Pole is tilted at it closest to the sun – 23.4 degrees.  This results in the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.

Here in Denver the sun rises at 5:32am today and sets at 8:31pm.  This will give us 14 hours, 59 minutes and 14 seconds of daytime.  Tomorrow it will be a bit less than one second shorter than today and each day from now through the Winter Solstice in December will get gradually shorter as well.

At the poles of the globe, the seasonal extremes will be quite notable.  Areas north of the Arctic Circle to the North Pole will see 24 hours of daylight and have a midnight sun.  On the opposite end of the globe, the South Pole will have no direct sunlight at all as they are in the depths of their winter.

Did you know that there is a difference between the astronomical seasons that we are discussing here and meteorological seasons?

Meteorological seasons differ slightly and are geared toward matching the calendar with the annual temperature cycle. This is done primarily for meteorological observing and forecasting and in many ways it is more logical than the astronomical seasons.

For the Northern Hemisphere, the meteorological spring covers the months of March, April and May. Summer brings the hottest months of the year and so meteorological summer is June, July and August. Meteorological fall then is September, October and November followed by the coldest months of December, January and February as meteorological winter.

Join the Discussion - Post your commentJoin the Discussion!

Mother Nature turns on the furnace for Thornton’s Tuesday

Tuesday, June 20th, 2017 5:04am MDT

The heat is on! Our expected (and perhaps dreaded) short heat wave begins today with temperatures pushing toward record-highs.

We begin the day with sunny skies and will see similar conditions through the morning. This afternoon a few clouds may arrive but they won’t be intrusive nor are they expected to have much impact on temperatures.

Look for the mercury to begin climbing quickly early as we head toward a high around 95 degrees. The record for the date is 97 degrees (1968) so it is going to be close. Tonight it will be partly clear with lows only going down to the mid-60s.

Keep an eye on the rising mercury with our live gauges here.

Join the Discussion - Post your commentJoin the Discussion!

The science of thunderstorms and lightning

Tuesday, June 20th, 2017 4:00am MDT

Lightning produced by thunderstorms presents a very real danger to Colorado residents. Image courtesy VORTEX2 / NSSL.

Thunderstorms and their associated hazards frequently make appearances in Colorado during the spring and summer months.  Lightning presents one of the damaging – and deadly – aspects of these storms and knowing more about the science behind the phenomena helps us to better protect ourselves.

As part of Lightning and Wildfire Safety Awareness Week, this installment from the National Weather Service gives more information on the science behind these bolts of electricity.

From the National Weather Service:

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BOULDER CO
600 AM MDT TUE Jun 20 2017

…UNDERSTANDING THE SCIENCE OF THUNDERSTORMS AND LIGHTNING…

Every thunderstorm produces lightning. Lightning is a giant spark that moves within the cloud…between clouds…or between the cloud and the ground. As lightning passes through the air…it heats the air rapidly to a temperature of about fifty thousand degrees Fahrenheit. This causes a rapid expansion of the air near the lightning channel. This rapid expansion causes a shock wave that we hear as thunder.

Thunderstorms will form if there is enough moisture and instability in the atmosphere. As the sun warms the air near the ground…pockets of warmer air begin to rise and cool. Condensation of water vapor causes cumulus clouds to form. Continued heating can cause these clouds to continue to grow upward into the atmosphere. Towering cumulus clouds may be one of the first indications of a developing thunderstorm. The mature thunderstorm has both an updraft of rising motion and a downdraft of sinking cool air accompanied by rain and sometimes hail.

Thunderstorms grow tens of thousands of feet into the atmosphere. In the cloud…precipitation forms as ice crystals…hail…and rain. Collisions between ice particles cause a charge separation…and positively charged ice crystals are carried by the updraft high in the thunderstorm. The heavier hail gathers a negative charge and falls toward the lower part of the storm. The top of the cloud becomes positively charged and the lower part of the storm becomes negatively charged.

Due to the pool of negative charges in the lower part of the storm…a pool of positive charges will develop along the ground and follow the cloud like a shadow. Farther away from the cloud base…but under the positively charged anvil…a strong negative charge may be induced.

Cloud-to-ground lightning can either be a negatively charged flash or a positively charged flash. The negative flash usually occurs between the negative charges in the lower part of the storm and the positive charges on the ground under and near the cloud base. Positive flashes usually occur between the positively-charged upper levels of the storm and the negatively-charged area surrounding the storm.

In the negative cloud-to-ground flash…an invisible…negatively-charged step leader forms near the cloud base and surges downward toward the ground. As this step leader approaches the ground… streamers of positive charge move upward from trees…buildings…and other objects on the ground. When these streamers meet the step leader…the connection is completed…and the result is lightning. The entire process takes place in fractions of a second.

If you are under a thunderstorm and your hair rises…you are in an area where the positive charges are rising up objects towards the storm. It is a dangerous location…because lightning may be about to strike.

The process for a positive flash is similar except that a positive channel usually originates in the anvil of the storm and surges downward. In this case…streamers of negative charge shoot up to meet the positively-charged channel as it approaches the ground. When a connection is made…a positive flash of lightning occurs.

While both negative and positive flashes of lightning can be deadly…the positive flashes generally are more destructive as they typically deliver more overall electrical charge to the ground…and they remain in contact with the ground surface for a longer period of time as compared to a negative cloud-to-ground flash.

The best advice in order to minimize your risk of becoming a lightning strike victim is to get indoors into a substantial shelter the second you hear thunder…and to remain there for at least 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder.  In general…when thunder roars…go indoors. An enclosed hard topped automobile is also a safe place to be during thunderstorms.

For additional information about lightning or lightning safety…visit NOAA’s Lightning Safety Awareness web site at (in lower case):

http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov

Lightning Safety and Wildfire Awareness Series:

Join the Discussion - Post your commentJoin the Discussion!

Lightning and wildfire safety overview

Monday, June 19th, 2017 6:00am MDT
Lightning fatalities in the United States from 2001 to 2010.

Lightning is a very real and deadly hazard in Colorado.

Colorado has the rather unenviable distinction of ranking second in the United States for lightning-related fatalities.  During the spring and summer the nice weather finds many residents outside and while clear skies are the norm, storms oftentimes loom and present a very real hazard to residents.

From the National Weather Service:

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PUEBLO CO
600 AM MDT MON JUN 19 2017

Colorado Lightning Safety Awareness Week continues through Saturday. Today we discuss the lightning threat across the Centennial State.

In the United States, there are an estimated 25 million cloud-to-ground lightning flashes per year, and each one is a potential threat to both life and property. During the past thirty years, 48 people have been killed each year by lightning on average, while during the last ten years this number is 30. Last year, 38 people were killed by lightning, while many others were injured. All of the people who were killed by lightning in 2016 were involved in outdoor activities.

In Colorado last year, lightning killed 2 people and injured 7. During the past thirty six years, on average, Colorado has had 3 lightning fatalities and 13 injuries per year.

Since 1980, El Paso County, including the Colorado Springs metro area, has had the dubious distinction of having the most lightning casualties, with 10 fatalities and 84 injuries. Larimer County has had 10 fatalities and 75 injuries, while Jefferson County has had 9 fatalities and 38 injuries.

Because it usually affects one or two victims at a time, and does not cause the destruction left in the wake of tornadoes or hurricanes, lightning generally receives less attention.

Many people do not act in a timely manner to protect their lives, and the lives of others, simply because they do not understand all the dangers associated with thunderstorms and lightning.

You need to become aware of the situations that put you at a greater risk of being struck by lightning, and what you can do to reduce that risk. While nearly all people take some protective actions when rain, hail and wind are occurring with thunderstorms, many leave themselves vulnerable to being struck by lightning as thunderstorms approach, move overhead and move away.

Lightning can strike more than 10 miles from the rain area of a thunderstorm. That distance is about as far as you can hear thunder. If you can hear thunder, you could be in danger of being struck by lightning. When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!

Most lightning deaths and injuries in Colorado occur during the afternoon when lightning is most likely to develop, and when people are more likely to be outside. Quite a few lightning fatalities occur when little or no rain is falling.

The chance that you will be struck by lightning in the United States is about 1 in 960 thousand for each year of your life. However, your chance of being struck will depend on whether you consistently practice all the lightning safety rules.

Lightning starts around half of the forest and rangeland wildfires across the state. Colorado averages around 2500 wildfires each year. Many of these lightning caused fires occur with very little or no rain. These storms often generate gusty winds, which can fan the flames of the fire.

During this Lightning Safety Awareness Week, the National Weather Service will provide a variety of information on lightning in Colorado.

On Tuesday, the science of lightning will be discussed.

On Wednesday, the topic of the day is outdoor lightning risk reduction. On Thursday, we will have information on indoor lightning safety.

On Friday, information for lightning strike survivors will be provided. On Saturday, lightning and wildfire information will be available.

When planning outdoor activities, check out the hazardous weather outlook and the latest forecast, which include thunderstorm and lightning potential. Make sure you get the specific forecast information of the location you will be visiting. The web sites for National Weather Service offices which cover Colorado and issue these products are…

Denver/Boulder…www.weather.gov/den Grand Junction….www.weather.gov/gjt Pueblo……………www.weather.gov/pub Goodland…………www.weather.gov/gld

NOAA’s lightning website which contains abundant information on lightning safety can be found at:

www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov

Lightning information specific for the State of Colorado can be found at: www.weather.gov/pub/lightning

The lightning topic for tomorrow will be the science of lightning.

 

Lightning Safety and Wildfire Awareness Series:

Join the Discussion - Post your commentJoin the Discussion!

Thornton’s workweek starts with warmer temps, real heat arrives tomorrow

Monday, June 19th, 2017 5:08am MDT

Today we will see plenty of sun and the mercury is going to climb over the highs of the past couple of days. More notable however is the heat that arrives tomorrow and will hang around for a few days.

For today look for sunny skies to start the day and other than a few clouds this afternoon, there will be little interruption to the sunshine. Winds will be light and out of the east. The mercury will begin a steady climb this morning toward an afternoon high in the mid-80s. Overnight tonight skies stay clear and lows dip to around 60 degrees.

After today, high pressure will continue to build and the temperatures climb. Highs Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday will be well into the 90s before we cool back down for Friday and the weekend.

Join the Discussion - Post your commentJoin the Discussion!

Lightning Safety and Wildfire Awareness Week highlights real dangers for residents

Sunday, June 18th, 2017 6:20am MDT
Lightning Warning Sign - When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors

Protecting yourself and your family from the dangers of lightning can be summed up in one phrase: When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors

Colorado is starting its annual Lightning Safety and Wildfire Awareness Week, an important opportunity to educate residents of the dangers lightning presents.  One statistic serves to highlight the very real hazard of lightning in Colorado – the Centennial State ranks as the second deadliest state for lightning fatalities in the nation.

We oftentimes read about the results of lightning strikes in our weekly look at Denver weather history.  They spark wildfires, cause property damage and injuries and in some cases result in death.  From 2001 to 2010 26 people were killed by lightning in Colorado – second only to Florida.

Each day during the National Weather Service’s Lightning Safety and Wildfire Awareness Week a new message is publicized covering a range of topics.  From lightning safety to the science of lightning, residents can learn more about this very real danger.

The following is the introductory message from the National Weather Service for this year with links to more information.  Education is key to protecting you and your family and we encourage you to study these pages and remember – When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!

From the National Weather Service:

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BOULDER CO
600 AM MDT Sun Jun 18 2017

Governor John Hickenlooper has declared the week of June 18 through June 24 as Colorado Lightning Safety Awareness Week. Lightning strikes the ground in our state over a half million times each year and with many of us participating in outdoor activities, we need to learn how to protect ourselves from lightning hazards.

Lightning is also responsible for about half of the wildfires in Colorado each year. When lightning or other conditions are conducive to a high wildfire threat, the National Weather Service will issue Fire Weather Watches or Red Flag Warnings.

During this week a series of statements will cover a variety of topics related to lightning and wildfires.

Monday…Lightning Overview for Colorado
Tuesday…The Science of Lightning
Wednesday…Outdoor lightning safety
Thursday…Indoor lightning safety
Friday…Lightning medical issues for survivors
Saturday…Lightning and wildfires

Here are a couple web sites that contain additional lightning information.

NOAA`s lightning website which contains abundant information on lightning safety can be found at:  www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov

Lightning information specific for the State of Colorado can be found at: www.weather.gov/pub/lightning

Steve Hodanish
Senior Forecaster
NWS Pueblo, CO

Join the Discussion - Post your commentJoin the Discussion!