Pleasant week ahead with some light snow chances

Thursday, December 28, 2017

A ridge of high pressure over the West Coast will keep northwest flow over the Steamboat Springs area this week. A large vortex or gyre of cold air over Hudson Bay, which is bringing frigid weather to the eastern two thirds of the country, will periodically elongate to the southwest, bringing episodes of light snow and cooler weather to our area later Saturday and Monday, New Year’s Day.

Seasonably warm temperatures with mostly sunny skies will rule the days through midday Saturday before our first chance of snow arrives later Saturday. A weak storm traveling over the West Coast ridge of high pressure will mix with some cold air to our northeast and may bring up to several of inches of snow for the Sunday morning report.

We are on the edge of some drier air by Sunday, so we may or may not see the sun during the day. Another weak storm in northwest flow has trended stronger in the latest numerical weather model runs for later Monday, and it appears northern Colorado will see another chance for some snow. Amounts are uncertain at this time, but details should be clearer by my Sunday forecast.

Much drier air overspreads Colorado for Tuesday and Wednesday leading to some brilliant and seasonably warm winter days.

Lots of uncertainty for late next week as the West Coast ridge of high pressure is forecast to evolve. Numerical forecast models have struggled mightily with this the past week, and this is important for the western U.S. as the ridge is currently acting like a giant block to incoming Pacific energy. Models agree that eventually the West Coast ridge will break down and allow the jet stream and associated storm track to travel more west to east across the western U.S., but exactly how and when that will happen has been changing daily.

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