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Dry cold front to pass tonight with temperatures warming into the weekend

Thursday, September 11, 2014

An unseasonably strong cold front is lurking just to our north and will likely blast through the area around sunset. This front has already surged down the Front Range, and uncharacteristically looks to bring the first low elevation snowflakes to that area before Steamboat Springs. Most if not all of the moisture associated with the front will also slide to our east, leaving us dry and seasonably cold for tomorrow, especially in the morning where we may see some below-freezing temperatures for the first time this season.

The dry air behind the front will keep our area sunny through Saturday before a trailing wave passes to our north late that night. Temperatures will cool a bit again on Sunday, but not be as cold as Friday morning, and there may be some showers in the afternoon as moisture from the south moves northward behind the departing wave. In fact, a ridge is forecast to build behind the departing wave and the clockwise circulation around the west side of this ridge will continue drawing moisture north through the workweek, leading to warming temperatures and the continued slight chance of afternoon storms.

Another strong wave approaches the west coast late in the workweek, but again there is disagreement about the interaction with another tropical storm forecast to be off the coast of Baja. The European ECMWF keeps these storms separate and the American GFS phases them. Remember this was similar to the prediction last week, and the end result was that tropical moisture was shared by the storms leading to the heavy rains on Tuesday, even though the storms themselves remained separate. So again, the outlook for next weekend is uncertain.

Monsoonal moisture to hang around until mid next week

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Currently, monsoonal moisture has once again invaded the area from the south, leading to high clouds this afternoon. Additionally, a cool front is moving across our northern Colorado border, and that may help some afternoon or evening showers to develop.

The upper level low associated with this front is currently splitting, with some of the energy being left behind on the central west coast. Pieces of this lagging part of the trough will keep the chance of showers for Friday and Saturday as the energy moves either over us or just north of us, as there is model disagreement on exactly how this lagging trough will evolve.

There may be a break on Sunday and early Monday as transient ridging crosses the area ahead of another trough forecast to be over the Pacific northwest by late in the weekend. Not only will this wave pick up whatever energy remains from the lagging trough off the central west coast as it moves eastward, but the remnants of Tropical Storm Norbert, currently of the coast of Baja, will also be entrained as that storm moves north.

This may lead to another very wet period late Monday through Tuesday night before the westerly flow associated with the Pacific northwest trough moves over our area by Wednesday. Dry and cool air behind this trough will likely produce some great early fall weather through the end of the workweek before another trough looks to threaten next weekend’s weather. However, there is considerable model disagreement by then, so the forecast is uncertain.

Summer returns tomorrow for the following week, except on Sunday when another fall front moves through

Thursday, August 28, 2014

This incredibly wet and persistent monsoon is forecast to at least be interrupted starting this afternoon after the Steamboat Springs area received well over an inch of rain in the last two days. Currently, light rain persists as rain wraps around the backside of the departing low, and skies should clear with occasional showers by this afternoon.

Seasonal weather should return for Friday and Saturday, though there is enough remaining moisture from this last monsoonal surge to keep the threat of afternoon thunderstorms present each day.

By Saturday night or early Sunday, another strong front is forecast to clip Colorado and bring cooler temperatures and showers for much of the day Sunday, with snow showers likely at the highest elevations of the northern Colorado Rockies. Behind this front, much drier air first from the northwest early in the week and then from the southwest by midweek will invade our area, interrupting the dominant monsoonal pattern and bringing us beautiful late summer weather for the duration of the workweek.

Models forecast some sort of storm approaching the west coast by the end of the workweek, so the forecast for next weekend is uncertain. Some models hint at a reestablishment of the monsoon pattern as southwest flow ahead of the storm transports moisture from the south over our area again.

First fall cold fronts move through the area Saturday and again next week

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Currently, mid and high level clouds from tropical storm Lowell off the Baja cost have overspread the area, keeping temperatures cool in the wake of a storm system that moved through the area late Tuesday and Wednesday. Cool temperatures should minimize the threat of showers today before a complex area of low pressure currently located off the northwest coast affects our area later Friday and through Saturday.

As this low pressure system moves west, another area of low pressure left behind from the Tuesday night storm in southern California will be forced to move northeastward and will travel over our state by late in the day Friday. There is some model uncertainty with regards to the exact track of this system and that will affect whether the rain comes earlier or later Friday, but periods of heavy rain appear likely sometime Friday afternoon through early Saturday morning.

Following closely on the heels of this system, the main fall-like storm from the northwest will first produce showers later Saturday and then produce rapidly falling temperatures and likely heavy rain again as the main front moves through late in the afternoon or evening. Rain is forecast to persist for a significant portion of the night before clearing early Sunday morning, and there may even be a dusting of snow at the highest elevations of the Colorado Rockies.

Sunday should be unseasonably cool in the wake of our first fall front, with lots of sun early and perhaps a stray shower late. At this point, further model disagreement about the evolution of a trailing wave makes the forecast very uncertain. The European ECMWF hangs this wave back before finally moving it over our area mid to late week, while the American GFS keeps this wave progressive, moving it over our area around Tuesday.

In either case, another rainy and cool day looks to occur sometime during the next workweek. After this storm passes, the forecast points towards dry weather and seasonably warm temperatures as westerly flow cuts off the very persistent and long-lasting monsoon, which has been producing steady rains since the beginning of July.

Very wet Wednesday and Thursday before weekend drying

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

As discussed in last Thursday’s forecast, the monsoon pattern has been reinvigorated by southerly flow around the west side of the strong western ridge and will produce very wet conditions for our area later Wednesday through Thursday. Before that, another beautiful summer day is on tap for today with some more clouds than yesterday, especially in the afternoon, but with any precipitation staying likely staying south of us until tomorrow.

A subtropical wave currently over the Arizona - Mexico border is forecast to move first northward and then northeastward as it approaches our area tomorrow. This wave will be accompanied by very moist air and rain showers will likely begin ahead of this wave around noon or early afternoon tomorrow. Showers will increase and transition to periods of very heavy rain by later in the afternoon as this first wave moves over our area sometime Wednesday evening.

Coincidentally, a large area of low pressure currently over the northwest coast will move eastward, and it appears some of this energy will be absorbed by a second subtropical wave from the south, keeping the likelihood of continued heavy rain over our area for Thursday.

Conditions improve considerably by Friday as the subtropical wave moves to our east, but plenty of moisture left behind will fuel afternoon storms on Friday. By Saturday, the northwest low, still well north of us, moves eastward, bringing a much drier westerly flow over our area. There will be a chance of storms Saturday and Sunday afternoons as there will still be lingering moisture, but the westerly flow is forecast to end the monsoonal pattern for a while, bringing classic beautiful late summer weather to our area for the following workweek.