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Wildfire Safety and Mitigation – Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week

Friday, March 8th, 2019 4:06am MDT

WildfiresFloods and wildfires are arguably the two most common disasters Coloradans face with numerous such events occurring each year.  To better prepare residents for the danger of these disasters, this week is Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week.

Each day this week the National Weather Service will be posting public information statements covering a number of different topics about floods and wildfires.  These important messages should be required reading for all Coloradans so they know what to do to prepare for these events and handle them when they occur.

ThorntonWeather.com will be posting each of these messages as a service to our readers.  Please check back daily for a new topic.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GRAND JUNCTION CO
600 AM MDT FRI MARCH 8 2019

…WILDFIRE SAFETY AND MITIGATION…

During this Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week we have discussed floods, flash floods, and how to stay safe when flooding threatens. We also told you that areas burned by wildfires are highly susceptible to flash floods within the first two or three years after the wildfire.

Today we will provide you with information about wildfire safety and mitigation that could save your life and minimize destruction to your personal property.

Colorado experienced some very devastating wildfires in 2013, including the Black Forest Fire, the Royal Gorge Wildfire, and the West Fork Complex which burned over a hundred thousand acres of forest. Two people were killed and over five hundred houses and other buildings were destroyed from the Black Forest Wildfire.

All wildfires need fuel to burn, typically in the form of dry vegetation, as often occurs in forests, grasslands, and cured wheat fields. Tragically, some wildfires also kill people and destroy homes, vehicles, and other personal property. If you live near or within a forest, grassland, or wheat field, there are some actions you can take to minimize your vulnerability to wildfires.

If you are a homeowner, the first defense against wildfires is to create and maintain a defensible space around your home. Defensible space is the area around a home or other structure where fuels and vegetation are treated, cleared or reduced to slow the spread of wildfire. Creating wildfire-defensible zones also reduces the chance of a structure fire spreading to neighboring homes or the surrounding forest. Defensible space also provides room for firefighters to do their jobs when fighting a wildfire.

More information on how to make a defensible space around your home can be found on the Colorado State Forest Service website at http://csfs.colostate.edu/pages/defensible-space.html

During periods of extreme fire danger in forests and rangelands…

…you should avoid being in areas where you might become trapped by a wildfire.

…you should avoid the use of matches or anything else which could ignite a fire.

…make sure that hot parts of motorized equipment, such as mufflers, are not allowed to come in contact with dry grasses or other potentially flammable material.

If you become trapped or cut off by a wildfire, seek shelter in areas with little or no fuel, such as rock slide areas or lakes.

For more information on wildfires and fire safety, please check out the following web addresses…

http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ridge2/fire/

Colorado State Forest Service


http://www.ready.gov/wildfires
http://www.nifc.gov

Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week continues through this Saturday.

JIM PRINGLE
WARNING COORDINATION METEOROLOGIST
WFO GRAND JUNCTION CO

Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week

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Springing forward: Daylight Saving Time begins Sunday, March 10th

Thursday, March 7th, 2019 7:57am MDT
The United States returns to Daylight Saving Time at 2:00am Sunday, March 10, 2019.

The United States returns to Daylight Saving Time at 2:00am Sunday, March 10, 2019.

The biannual ritual of changing our clocks to adjust for Daylight Saving Time occurs this Saturday night providing yet another signal of the changing of seasons.  The United States will ‘spring forward’ one hour at 2:00am Sunday morning as we begin Daylight Savings Time.

The ritual of changing our clocks twice a year can be met with some resistance as some people struggle to adjust their body’s internal clock.  The start of Daylight Saving Time can be particularly problematic given the one hour less sleep people receive on the night of the change.

However, longer days as we head into the milder months are a very real benefit and for many worth the inconvenience of a lost hour of sleep.  The time change definitely has big effects on how much daylight we enjoy during our normal waking hours.

On Saturday, prior to the change, sunset will occur at 6:00pm but on Sunday the sun won’t disappear over the horizon until 7:01pm.  This affords folks more time in the evening to get started on those spring-time chores and allows us to get outside and enjoy the warming weather.

The March Equinox is also on the horizon.  Spring officially begins at 3:58pm on Wednesday, March 20.

This year Daylight Savings Time will come to an end on November 3.

Some of the recent history of Daylight Savings Time (from Wikipedia):

Daylight saving time in the United States was first observed in 1918. Most areas of the United States currently observe daylight saving time, with the exceptions being the states of Arizona and Hawaii along with the territories of Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

From 1987 to 2006, daylight saving time in the United States began on the first Sunday of April and ended on the last Sunday of October. The time was adjusted at 2:00 AM (0200) local time (as it still is done now).

Since 2007, daylight saving time starts on the second Sunday of March and ends on the first Sunday of November, with all time changes taking place at 2:00 AM (0200) local time.

Daylight Savings Time Schedule

Year DST Begins 2 a.m.
(Second Sunday in March)
DST Ends 2 a.m.
(First Sunday in November)
2019 10 March 2019 3 November 2019
2020 8 March 2020 1 November 2020
2021 14 March 2021 7 November 2021
2022 13 March 2022 6 November 2022
2023 12 March 2023 5 November 2023
2024 10 March 2024 3 November 2024
2025 9 March 2025 2 November 2025
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Warmer temperatures, calm conditions on Thursday for Thornton

Thursday, March 7th, 2019 5:05am MDT

Following our overnight rain / freezing rain / snow, we will experience a nice little warm up today.

Some early fog may be seen and roads will be slick initially. You will certainly want to adjust your morning commute as needed and take your time.

After that, skies will be partly sunny for the balance of the day with some easing in the cloud cover late. Temperatures will top out in the upper 40s.

Tonight, skies will be partly cloudy with lows in the low 20s.

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Wildfire Awareness – Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week

Thursday, March 7th, 2019 4:07am MDT

WildfiresFloods and wildfires are arguably the two most common disasters Coloradans face with numerous such events occurring each year.  To better prepare residents for the danger of these disasters, this week is Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week.

Each day this week the National Weather Service will be posting public information statements covering a number of different topics about floods and wildfires.  These important messages should be required reading for all Coloradans so they know what to do to prepare for these events and handle them when they occur.

ThorntonWeather.com will be posting each of these messages as a service to our readers.  Please check back daily for a new topic.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE BOULDER CO
600 AM MDT THU MARCH 7 2019

…Wildfire in Colorado…where do you get your information…

A mixture of large and small wildfires occurred across Colorado in 2018. These fires were due to a mixture of dry conditions, combined with gusty, warm winds and, sometimes, careless fire prevention efforts. There were instances when residents had to be evacuated as a large wildfire moved toward larger communities. Would you know what to do to protect yourself and your loved ones in this situation? In addition, if you live in an area that is susceptible to wildfires, how can you prepare yourself and your home?

To assist in your preparation for fire…the National Weather Service provides a variety of fire weather forecast products. Twice a day in Colorado…fire weather planning forecasts are made from each weather service office serving the state.

A Fire Weather Watch may be issued if in the next 12 to 48 hours the forecast includes gusty winds of 25 mph or greater…relative humidities of less than 15 percent for at least three hours, dry lightning, or a combination of weather and fuel conditions that may make large wildfires possible.

A Red Flag Warning will be issued if these same critical fire conditions are forecast within the next 24 hours. Both Fire Weather Watches and Red Flag Warnings are issued in coordination with land management agencies.

The fire weather spot program supports land management agencies for both prescribed burns and for wildfires. A fire weather spot forecast is a detailed forecast for an individual fire. For national type 2 or type 1 fires the National Weather Service will detail an IMET…incident meteorologist to a fire team to provide onsite weather support and detailed fire forecasts.

If you live in the urban interface there are a number of actions you can take to reduce your personal fire threat including reducing vegetation near the home and putting a fire resistant roof on your home. More information is available from your National Weather Service at: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/fire or from your Department of Homeland Security at: http://www.ready.gov/wildfires.

When a fire occurs, there may be years of increased flood threat on the burn scar, as a healthy forest can handle an inch to inch and a half of rain with no flood risk. Once the litter and vegetation is removed by fire…as little as a half inch of rain in a short period can cause serious and possibly life threatening flooding.

Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week continues through this Saturday

Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week

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Thornton’s Wednesday will warm only slightly, late day offers a chance for showers

Wednesday, March 6th, 2019 5:11am MDT

Moisture streaming in from the west coupled with cold air that just doesn’t move out will be the key factors in our weather today. We should see temperatures warm a bit from yesterday but not by a lot and the late afternoon and evening may bring some precipitation.

Partly cloudy skies start things off and similar sky conditions will be with us throughout the day. Winds will initially be out of the south shifting to come from the northeast in the afternoon.

With the flow from east / northeast, cold air is not going to be moving out. As a result, highs today will likely only top out in the mid to upper 30s.

Late afternoon and evening may bring us a sprinkle of rain initially, then, as temperatures drop, a change to freezing drizzle may occur. If it does, road conditions may be impacted. Some light snow will then be possible through midnight but minimal, if any at all, accumulation is expected.

Tonight, we will see some clearing after midnight with overnight lows near 20 degrees.

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Flash Flooding – Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week

Wednesday, March 6th, 2019 3:04am MDT

Floods and Flash FloodsFloods and wildfires are arguably the two most common disasters Coloradans face with numerous such events occurring each year.  To better prepare residents for the danger of these disasters, this week is Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week.

Each day this week the National Weather Service will be posting public information statements covering a number of different topics about floods and wildfires.  These important messages should be required reading for all Coloradans so they know what to do to prepare for these events and handle them when they occur.

ThorntonWeather.com will be posting each of these messages as a service to our readers.  Please check back daily for a new topic.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PUEBLO CO
600 AM MDT WED MARCH 6 2019

Today’s topic during this Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness week is flash floods.

Flash floods are no strangers to Colorado. Since the year 1900, nearly 300 people have been killed in flash floods across the Centennial state.

In terms of lives lost, the worst flash flood occurred on July 31, 1976 in the Big Thompson Canyon between Estes Park and Loveland. A nearly stationary storm produced around 12 inches of rain in 4 hours, claiming 144 lives.

Three other notable flash floods in Colorado were:

In 1904, just north of Pueblo, a bridge failed and around 100 people drowned when a passenger train plunged into Fountain Creek.

The 1997 Fort Collins episode drowned 5 people and caused 200 million dollars of property damage.

In 2013, 9 people drowned during the historic September rain episode, which was a combination of flash floods and river floods. These floods were much more extensive than the Big Thompson Canyon flood of 1976, but because of timely and accurate warnings, many people stayed out of harms way and lives were saved.

A flash flood is defined as a rapid rise in water levels, generally occurring in less than 6 hours, along large creeks, normally dry washes, arroyos, or over normally dry land areas, and can occur with little advanced notice.

Flash floods frequently result from high rainfall rates, and infrequently result from dam failures, levee failures, or sudden breaks in river ice jams. Flash floods are very destructive, due to the force of the moving water, and the accompanying debris. This tremendous force can easily damage or destroy roadways, bridges, and buildings.

In recent years, Colorado has seen major flooding and damage when heavy rains have occurred on wildfire burn scar areas. If you are in or near a burn scar area, you need to plan ahead. Be aware of general flash flood plans and procedures that have been developed and implemented by your local emergency management officials. You should know your flash flood risks, and make your plans to save your life and those around you.

The National Weather Service forecast offices will discuss flash flood potential in daily hazardous weather outlooks, and in graphical weather stories on National Weather Service forecast office web sites.

During days when flash flooding is possible a Flash Flood Watch will be issued.

During days when flash flooding is likely or occurring, a Flash Flood Warning will be issued.

When a Flash Flood Warning is issued for your area, you need to act quickly if you are in a drainage area or in other low spots. Know your escape routes to higher ground and act as quickly as possible. It may be just a short walk or climb to that higher ground.

Many flash flood deaths occur in vehicles. Do not drive through a flooded roadway. The water may be much deeper than you think, because the roadway may be damaged or washed away. One to two feet of water will carry away most vehicles. Instead turn around, do not drown.

For more information on flood safety go to…

http://www.floodsafety.noaa.gov

Tom Magnuson
Warning Coordination Meteorlogist
National Weather Service Pueblo

Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week

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Warmer temperatures for Thornton’s Tuesday but readings will remain well below normal

Tuesday, March 5th, 2019 5:02am MDT

The chill continues to linger today with temperatures about 20 degrees below normal. That is, at least, a decent improvement over recent days.

Clear skies start us out but we will see a steady, slow increase in cloud cover as the day progresses. The coverage may inhibit the warming a bit.

As is, highs today right around the freezing mark are expected. The average high for today’s date is 51 degrees so while we will be warmer than yesterday, we are still much colder than normal.

Tonight, mostly cloudy skies will be above with lows dipping to the teens.

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Long Time Frame Flooding – Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week

Tuesday, March 5th, 2019 4:10am MDT

Floods and Flash FloodsFloods and wildfires are arguably the two most common disasters Coloradans face with numerous such events occurring each year.  To better prepare residents for the danger of these disasters, this week is Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week.

Each day this week the National Weather Service will be posting public information statements covering a number of different topics about floods and wildfires.  These important messages should be required reading for all Coloradans so they know what to do to prepare for these events and handle them when they occur.

ThorntonWeather.com will be posting each of these messages as a service to our readers.  Please check back daily for a new topic.

PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PUEBLO CO
600 AM MDT TUESDAY MARCH 5 2019

Today’s topic during Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week is flooding which develops in the time frame of longer than 6 hours to several days.

Long duration floods in Colorado can result from snow melt…a combination of snow melt and heavy rain…or just heavy rain.

There have been some notable floods across the Centennial State…

In early June of 1921…a flood along the Arkansas River devastated the city of Pueblo. Estimates of drownings ranged from over 100 to over 300.

Around Memorial Day…1935…catastrophic flooding occurred on the Palmer Divide and the Colorado Springs area…causing millions of dollars of damage…and killing at least 18 people.

The mid-June 1965 flood was widespread across eastern Colorado…taking several lives…and causing over 500 million dollars of damage.

During late April and early May of 1999…after up to 14 inches of rain fell…a major flood occurred across southeast Colorado from Colorado Springs to La Junta.

In 2013, the historic rains and floods in September caused over 3 billion dollars of damage, and took 9 lives.

Just this last year during May, multiple days of heavy rain and snow caused flooding across many areas of eastern Colorado.

Floods in Colorado can result from rapid snow melt, ice jams, a combination of snow melt and heavy rain, or just heavy rain.

National Weather Service forecast offices in Colorado closely collaborate with regional river forecast centers that monitor the Colorado River…South Platte River…Arkansas River…and Rio Grande to come to a consensus on the likelihood of flooding along rivers and large creeks.

The National Weather Service will discuss flood potential in hydrologic outlooks…daily hazardous weather outlooks…and in graphical weather stories on National Weather Service forecast office web sites. Hydrologic statements may be issued for high flows that are within the banks of a river or large creek.

When flooding is possible on a river or large creek…a Flood Watch will be issued…meaning flooding is possible within the designated watch area.

When flooding is likely or occurring on a river or large creek…a Flood Warning will be issued…meaning flooding is expected or has been reported at designated river forecast points.

Flood Advisories may be issued for minor flooding on rivers and creeks.

An Areal Flood Warning may also be issued for flooding on a river or large creek in areas away from the designated river forecast points.

You can easily monitor potential flooding along rivers in Colorado and large creeks using the Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service monitoring system. Information on this monitoring system can be obtained from this web site…

http://water.weather.gov/ahps

This monitoring system can be accessed on Colorado National Weather Service forecast office web sites from the left hand menu…by clicking…rivers and lakes under the hydrology banner.

At each river and large creek gauge…you can easily look at current and forecast water levels…flood categories…historic crests…and flood impacts. Probabilities of exceedance of certain water levels by week or over the long term are also available.

In general…there will be some time to prepare for river and large creek flooding…and emergency management in your area has plans in place to address flooding issues. Know these plans and how you should act accordingly when Flood Watches and Flood Warnings are in effect.

For more information on flood safety go to…

http://www.floodsafety.noaa.gov

Tom Magnuson
Warning Coordination Meteorologist
National Weather Service Pueblo

Colorado Flood Safety and Wildfire Preparedness Week

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Denver sets two cold weather record temperatures in two days

Monday, March 4th, 2019 5:12am MDT

Record Cold TemperaturesWe may have changed the calendar to March but it seems like we are receiving weather more common for January. The bone-chilling cold of recent weeks has continued and the Mile High City set two temperature records in as many days.

Yesterday, as measured at Denver International Airport, the Mile High City saw a high temperature of only 6 degrees. This easily broke the record for the coldest maximum (high) temperature for March 3rd. The previous record was 14 degrees set in 1978.

Thornton was slightly warmer yesterday with a high of 8 degrees.

Also of note, yesterday’s low temperature reading in Denver of -6 degrees, while not a record low for the date, was the coldest temperature reading in March since -7 degrees was recorded on March 2, 1960.

This morning, the mercury at DIA dropped to -5 degrees. That bested the record low temperature for March 4th of -3 degrees last set in 1978. Similarly, Thornton saw a low of -5 degrees.

Warmer weather is on its way but the warm up will be slow as the Arctic air and snow cover lingers. For what lies ahead, see the extended weather forecast here.

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The sun returns for Thornton’s Monday, warmth however does not

Monday, March 4th, 2019 5:01am MDT

The clouds and snow of the weekend will move out today and we will see a return of calm conditions and blue skies. Arctic air however will remain entrenched on the Front Range and temperatures will be well below normal.

We start out the day with mostly sunny skies and a few spots of patchy fog. A Wind Chilly Advisory remains in effect until 9:00am.

Mostly clear skies will be the rule through the balance of the day with light winds out of the east. Temperatures start out below zero and will warm, but only to the upper teens, perhaps the 20 degree mark.

Tonight, we will be in for another cold one. Partly cloudy skies will be above with lows dropping to near zero.

Keep an eye on the temperatures with our live weather gauges.

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