Early week storm looks to deliver more cold than snow

Friday, December 2, 2016

A low to our south and a large storm in the Gulf of Alaska will affect our weather over the next week. The southwest flow from the low to our south has directed moisture and light snow showers over our area that will persist through the night with only an inch or two of accumulations.

Meanwhile, the atmospheric jet stream is currently punching into the Pacific Northwest bringing copious precipitation as energy begins to be ejected from the Gulf of Alaska storm. We may see some very light snow showers on Saturday afternoon and overnight as energy in the southern end of the jet stream grazes northern Colorado.

While the northwest and northern U.S. Rockies will see the bulk of precipitation from this storm, Colorado is tantalizingly close to some action, and the models have been struggling with the proximity of the jet stream over these last few days. What appeared to be a very promising storm a few days ago now looks to deliver more cold than snow early next week after a flat ridge moves over the Steamboat Springs area on Sunday and briefly warms temperatures.

Snow showers should start by early Monday morning as the main part of the storm approaches from the northwest. Snows will generally be light until a strong cold front blasts through the area on Monday, likely accompanied with a burst of snow that quickly ends behind the front.

Very cold air will then invade our area making Tuesday and Wednesday the coldest days of the season so far. There is another wave in northwest flow that looks to bring more snow showers to Colorado on Tuesday and Wednesday, and models are wavering on the exact track, which will likely change as we move closer to the event. Right now, some dry air is forecast to spread over the Steamboat Springs area on Tuesday, keeping snows to our south, before light snow showers visit our area Tuesday night and early Wednesday.

A transient ridge follows for Thursday and Friday, bringing warming that will be most noticeable at the mid and higher elevations as developing inversions keep the valleys chilly. More grazing waves are forecast for Saturday and the following Monday, but I expect the forecast to change as models get a better handle on two features that will likely determine our weather over the next 2 weeks; a sharp ridge over the Bering Sea between Russia and Alaska and cold air from western Canada moving westward that may interact with that ridge as well as possible undercutting energy from Asia.

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