Monsoon Clouds Are Here But Where’s The Rain?

By Chris Spears

DENVER (CBS4) – It was so nice to wake up this morning to extensive cloud cover along the Front Range courtesy of the North American Monsoon.

So why isn’t it raining?

dflevbtxcaisbbe Monsoon Clouds Are Here But Wheres The Rain?

(credit: CBS4)

To understand why we need to look at this morning’s weather balloon data for Denver.

capture3 Monsoon Clouds Are Here But Wheres The Rain?

(credit: NCAR)

It showed that the atmosphere was still very dry in the lowest few thousand feet, evident by the “inverted V” shape in the data. (the red line represents temperature and the green line shows moisture)

The further apart these two lines are the drier the air. The closer they are to each other the closer the air is to saturation at that particular altitude.

But if you look higher up you’ll see the lines come closer together, which represents the increased mid and high-level cloud cover that we saw this morning.

milehighcam Monsoon Clouds Are Here But Wheres The Rain?

(credit: CBS4)

If you’re hoping for rain then you can see why it’s taking a while for it to materialize. There’s a lot of dry air for the atmosphere to overcome. It’s actually raining a few thousand feet up but most of that is evaporating as it falls into the drier air below.

But this was just one snapshot of the atmosphere earlier today. The atmosphere changes in real-time and we will get a new snapshot this evening.

What we’d like to see from the new data tonight is for the air near and above the ground to have moistened up, in other words, for the red and green lines to not be so far apart.

If that happens then we will have a better chance to potentially see rain (instead of sprinkles) from any storms that develop over the next few days.

Fingers crossed!

Meteorologist Chris Spears travels weekly in the CBS4 Mobile Weather Lab reporting about Colorado’s weather and climate. Check out his bio, connect with him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @ChrisCBS4.

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