Cool and wet start to the weekend followed first by drying and then warming

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The gusty southwest winds observed over Colorado today are due to the large storm currently residing in the Great Basin that is rapidly approaching our area. There may be a chance of showers later today as pieces of energy are ejected from the storm, but the bulk of the precipitation will occur along and behind the strong cold front, which is timed to pass through the Steamboat Springs area Friday morning.

There should be moderate to heavy showers when the front passes, bringing snow levels down to 8000′ or even lower in the heavier cells. Showers will continue intermittently in the cool, moist and unstable flow behind the front on Friday with some accumulating snows likely around pass levels.

Some energy will dig south from another wave traveling westward through western Canada, reinforcing the cold air and contributing to another cool and showery day on Saturday. Additional trailing energy will keep the cold air around for Sunday, though this piece of energy is forecast to keep moving south, causing the storm to elongate and allowing dry air to infiltrate Colorado from north to south during the day. There should be some spectacular scenery as the sun appears over colorful aspen and snow-covered peaks.

With clearing skies on Sunday and a last push of cool air from energy rotating around the backside of the storm forecast to be to our northeast by then, Monday morning will be cold with a hard freeze likely. Temperatures will be slow to recover under sunny skies until Tuesday when a building western ridge brings temperatures back to or above normal. The ridge will likely keep another round of brilliant weather around for most of the rest of the work week.

There is uncertainty in the forecast for the end of the week as some of the southward moving energy from this weekend’s storm meanders south of the Mexican border and possibly coalesces with a tropical storm moving northward from Baja midweek. The southwest flow ahead of another Pacific Northwest storm moving southward from the Gulf of Alaska late in the work week is forecast to move these southern systems into the southwestern US and they may threaten our weather by next weekend.

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