Promising but complicated storm for the work week

Sunday, January 7, 2018

A sunny and warm afternoon has followed the 6” of snow at mid-mountain and 7” up top at the Steamboat Ski Area. Ahead of our next Pacific weather maker currently moving across the eastern Pacific, temperatures will warm further above average on a mostly sunny Monday as a ridge of high pressure is pushed eastward over our area.

The incoming Pacific storm is going to split as it crosses the central California coast early Tuesday, with the southern part of the split forecast to move across central Arizona and New Mexico through Wednesday. Additionally, cold air from western Canada is forecast to be dragged southward over our area later Wednesday by a trailing piece of energy in the northern part of the storm, producing likely significant snows.

Interestingly, part of the just-past storm left some energy off the southern California coast, and this has warmed and moistened and will be absorbed into the leading edge of the coming storm. Along with some very good moisture, warm temperatures and energy ejecting our of the storm will bring low-elevation rain showers and high elevation snow showers on Tuesday.

I would expect 1-4” of snow at mid-mountain and above by Wednesday morning, but snows will increase and lower to the Yampa Valley floor during the day on Wednesday as the cold front washes over Colorado. There is considerable uncertainty with the track of the southern part of the system, and this may affect the amount of moisture and snow over our area. Moderate to heavy snow is looking likely, and at this point, I’ll guess 6-12” of snow by Thursday morning, with that forecast subject to change as this complicated storm evolves.

Snowfall should taper off by early Thursday as a break in the weather appears.

Another Pacific storm, this one quick-moving, will start the snow machine again around Thursday night, with light to moderate snowfall expected in moist and cool northwest flow for most of the day Friday. Models have trended slightly stronger with this storm, and an additional 3-6” from Thursday night through Friday night is possible.

While a ridge of high pressure was previously advertised for a nice weekend, the nice-weather window may be shortened as current model trends have more Pacific energy traveling over the top of the ridge and dragging some unsettled weather over our area for the second half of coming weekend.

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