DENVER (CBS4) – Dry, windy, and warm weather in recent weeks has kept fire danger high and the chance for late day thunderstorms almost non-existent. That unusual pattern finally changes this week.

Higher relative humidity on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday means there will be more moisture in the air. That means critical fire danger should stay away from Denver and the Front Range while a chance for late day thunderstorms is added to the forecast.

The only Red Flag Warning in Colorado on Monday is in southern Colorado including Canon City and Alamosa. The fire danger farther north including in the Denver metro area is still elevated thanks to mostly dry weather over the last 6 weeks but is not as high as it’s been recently.

(source: CBS)

Monday will also be warmer than it was over the weekend for most of Colorado. Fort Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins, high temperatures will reach into the 80s which is at least 10 degrees above normal for the middle of May.

(source: CBS)

During the early afternoon hours, showers and thunderstorms are likely to develop in the mountains and will then move east toward the Front Range and Eastern Plains. Most of the storms will not survive the trip east but a few could flourish particularly for areas east of urban corridor. The lowest level of the atmosphere will remain quite dry so the storms will be “elevated” meaning they are likely to produce far more gusty wind than measurable rainfall.

On the Eastern Plains, it’s possible one or two storms could grow strong enough to produce wind gusts up to 60 mph and perhaps hail up to 1 inch in diameter. Generally speaking, severe weather is not likely in Colorado on Monday.

(source: CBS)

Expect very similar weather on Tuesday although the chance for thunderstorms is higher overall and the threat for severe weather becomes a bit higher especially in far northeast Colorado. On a scale from 1 to 5, the threat is a 2 east of Fort Morgan on Tuesday while much of the Denver areas reaches level 1 which is considered a “marginal” threat for damaging hail and/or damaging wind. The tornado threat is almost zero in the coming days.

(source: CBS)

The “best” chance for showers and thunderstorms in the metro area will wait until Wednesday but it’s still less than a 50% chance. Then a very dry, very windy, and very warm day develops on Thursday with Red Flag Warnings likely for high fire danger.

It will be the “warm before the storm” on Thursday. A powerful cold front will drop temperatures at least 30 degrees on Friday and bring a good chance for widespread moisture. At this time, the vast majority of the moisture along the Front Range is expected to be cold rain. A few snowflakes are also be possible but no accumulation is expected outside of the mountains and higher foothills. Nevertheless, the CBS4 Weather Team has already declared Friday a First Alert Weather Day due to the abrupt change in the weather.

Meteorologist Ashton Altieri