Colorado weather: Memorial Day weekend brings warmer temps and a smaller chance of afternoon storms

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Alex Shifman and Naomi Whiteley marvel at Maroon Bells in White River National Forest. May 28, 2022.

The Front Range’s wet spring weather should taper off in the run up to Memorial Day weekend. 

Denver and Colorado Springs have a chance of scattered thunderstorms in the forecast Thursday and Friday night, with highs around 80. The chance of afternoon and evening storms drops to less than 20 percent from Saturday through Memorial Day itself, according to the National Weather Service. 

The threat of flash flooding around wildfire burn scars remains slightly elevated, NWS said. 

“What we've done now — with the heavy rain that we've had — is we've set the stage for a stormy summer,” said Mike Nelson, chief meteorologist for Denver7. “The soil is really full of moisture, and so when we start to get the warmer temperatures, you get the evaporation. You get the clouds building. You get the thunderstorms forming. You get more rain. And it's a cycle that builds upon itself.”

Vail and central mountain communities have some chance for rain Thursday and Friday nights. Saturday and Sunday have a smaller chance for rain, with highs in the 60s. 

Grand Junction and the Western Slope are forecast for highs in the 80s with clear skies.

Older people, children and groups who deal with respiratory problems won’t need to worry about the smoky skies that blanketed parts of the Front Range this week. Air quality should be on the upswing.

“The smoke has come down around a big high-pressure system up in Canada that has brought them very early hot, dry weather, hence all the fire problems. Then circling around the front side of that high, the smoke has come in from the Dakotas and then all the way down into mostly eastern Colorado,” Nelson said. “It hasn't been as big a problem in the mountains and west, but recent showers just in the last couple of days, and again today will help to cleanse the air quite a bit going into the weekend.”

There is some bad news, though, depending on how you feel about Colorado’s occupation by miller moths. All those wildfire smoke particles weigh down their wings and may have slowed migration, so get used to your new flying roommates for now.