What is a Colorado Low?


It’s one of the more dynamic systems we forecast here in North dakota. This type of system originally comes from the Pacific… almost dissipating as it moves over the rough terrain from the Rockies.

It gets its name from the area of re-intensification once it’s made its way over the mountains. Even though it’s called the Colorado Low, it’s not always formed in Colorado. It can form in the general vicinity.

It intensifies by heading into a different terrain and meeting the Gulf moisture. This allows the storm to intensifiy over the flatter plains. The track of the low follows the upper atmospheric steering motions and which are typically to the north and east.

There’s a natural counter-clockwise spin around low pressure. On the northern side, we’re pulling in cooler air and depending on the time of year, this precipitation could be all rain, all snow, or a mixture. As it feeds in more moisture from the Gulf, this makes it a high precipitation event.

On the southern side, the clashing of the warm moist air with the cooler and drier air is often a recipe for severe weather along the trailing cold front.

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