Precipitation likely later Thursday with cold front

Sunday, November 12, 2017

A large storm currently in the Gulf of Alaska will eject some energy that will weakly affect the Steamboat Springs area on Tuesday. The parent storm will move over our area later Thursday or early Friday with warm showers ahead of the front turning to snow behind the front.

The current warm and dry weather will continue through Monday, though clouds may increase ahead of a weak cool front ejected from the Gulf of Alaska storm that will gaze northern Colorado on Tuesday. There may be some high elevation snow showers Tuesday afternoon or evening along with a decrease in temperatures, but the system looks similar to the mostly dry one that just passed this last Saturday.

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Temperatures will warm again on Wednesday as high pressure briefly builds ahead of the now eastward-moving Gulf of Alaska storm. Clouds and winds from the southwest will increase on Thursday as the storm tracks across the Great Basin, with low elevation rain and high elevation snow starting during the day Thursday.

The cold front will pass around Thursday night or Friday morning, with continued breezy southwest winds veering to the northwest and bringing a burst of snow that will be locally heavy for a time. Much colder temperatures are expected for Friday as snow showers taper off during the day or evening. There is some uncertainty with respect to the timing of the cold front, as the European ECMWF is about 12 hours behind the American GFS. Six to twelve inches of snow at the higher elevations is possible, along with a few inches at the lower elevations during the cold part of the storm.

If skies clear Friday night behind the storm, Saturday will start quite cold, but with plenty of sun during the day to help warm temperatures. As was the case this past weekend, the best warming will wait until the following day on Sunday as the cold airmass takes longer to warm with shorter days and lower sun angles.

Another storm drops into the Gulf of Alaska late next weekend, and this storm is currently forecast to split as it approaches the West Coast early in the next work week. There is uncertainty regarding to how much energy stays with the eastward propagating part of the storm and how much is left behind off the coast of California, but currently it looks like some sort of storm will travel through the Steamboat Springs area just before Opening Day, which is scheduled for Wednesday, November 22.

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