Winter is here!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The forecast from last week underestimated the amount of snow received Monday from the well-advertised cold front that moved through the area that morning, with 4” on my deck by noon that day. Currently, very cold air is lurking to to our north and east, and some more of it will be dragged over our area early tomorrow morning as a wave rotates over our area from the north. Light snow is expected on the hill, and while we may see some snowflakes in the valley, current forecasts call for no further accumulations.

That changes in a big way on Thursday as a Pacific wave undercuts the strong ridge in the Gulf of Alaska and brings some upward motion and moisture in northwest flow over the current dome of cold air. Temperatures may warm a bit with a mix of rain and snow in the valley by Thursday afternoon, but significant snowfall is expected on the hill through Thursday night. If the mountain was open, I would expect 4-8” of snow on the morning report.

Continued moist northwest flow will keep the weather unsettled for Friday, though we will see more warming behind the Thursday storm. This warming will stabilize the atmosphere and likely keep the valley mostly dry with a possible rain/snow mix if showers do occur, while minimizing snowfall on the hill.

But another cold wave rotating around the cold air to our north will push another cold front through the area on Saturday. Because we are forecast to still have moist northwest flow in the mid and upper levels of the atmosphere, I expect another round of significant accumulations, with moderate to heavy snowfall up on the hill and likely in the valley as well by Saturday afternoon and lasting through Saturday night. I anticipate another 6-12” by Sunday morning if the Steamboat Ski Area was reporting.

There may be a brief break sometime on Sunday before snow is forecast to begin again by later in the day and continue overnight as waves in moist northwest flow pass over the area. Another brief break on Monday before a much stronger Pacific wave is forecast to cross the west coast and travel over our area around Tuesday. Again, the models are forecasting moderate to heavy snowfall with this wave that looks to last through at least Wednesday.

Not that we should be surprised, but it’s always amazing when the last mountain bike ride of the season on Sunday of last weekend is followed by powder skiing the next weekend!

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