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Big storm ends weekend and lasts through most of the workweek

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The storm advertised last week will begin affecting our weather by Saturday afternoon as it moves from its current location in the Gulf of Alaska southeastward towards the Great Basin over the weekend. Moisture drawn from the southwest ahead of the storm will move over our area during the day Saturday and will create the threat of some wetting rains, especially in the afternoon and evening.

The low is forecast to become cutoff from the main westerlies by mid-weekend, and waves rotating around this cutoff will eventually bring moderate to heavy rain to our area during the day Sunday. There may be breaks in the precipitation, but rain will continue for most of Monday as the upper cutoff low approaches and eventually moves over us by Monday night. As that happens, the cool flow will turn to the Steamboat’s favored northwest location and keep the chance of rain showers for the valleys and possible snow showers for the higher elevations going through Tuesday until early Wednesday morning.

There is considerable inter-model and intra-model uncertainty with the eastward speed of the cutoff low that may slow its eastward progression by a half day or so. Additionally, there are another two waves upstream, with the first bringing a reinforcing surge of cool air by Wednesday.

The second storm looks to be quite strong as it travels southeastward from the Pacific northwest by Friday. The southwest flow ahead of that storm looks to bring some brief warming and drying ahead of the storm by late in the workweek, but some models have it finally moving over our area sometime next weekend. This storm is currently advertised to bring a stronger push of cold air over our region and may threaten snow near the valley bottom.

Showers bookend a nice fall weekend

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Currently, a beautiful and warm fall day is gracing our area with the remnants of former hurricane Odile staying to our south and a Pacific storm approaching the west coast. This storm will split, with the progressive northern branch bringing showers and some cooling to our area by tomorrow afternoon and lasting for some of the evening.

Saturday and some of Sunday will be precipitation-free before the cutoff part of the Friday storm left behind in central California moves westward. Interestingly, some of Odile’s moisture will be drawn into the system even though the former hurricane will be east of our area, leading to the possibility of moderate to heavy rains by later in the day Sunday and Sunday night. The start of precipitation is uncertain at this time as models disagree on how quickly the difficult-to-forecast cutoff low moves west, but it should be raining by sometime in the afternoon and the rains will continue through midnight.

Rain will turn to showers on Monday and will continue through the day as that cutoff low moves over our area. Some showers may be moderate to heavy later in the day as moist and cool northwest flow is predicted behind the storm. Models disagree on whether the storm lingers for Tuesday, but conditions should rapidly improve and skies clear as a strong ridge builds behind the departing storm.

Beautiful warm and dry fall weather will hang around for most of the workweek before a strong storm approaches the west coast by Friday. Current model forecasts have this storm threatening our weather for the following weekend.

Dry cold front to pass tonight with temperatures warming into the weekend

Thursday, September 11, 2014

An unseasonably strong cold front is lurking just to our north and will likely blast through the area around sunset. This front has already surged down the Front Range, and uncharacteristically looks to bring the first low elevation snowflakes to that area before Steamboat Springs. Most if not all of the moisture associated with the front will also slide to our east, leaving us dry and seasonably cold for tomorrow, especially in the morning where we may see some below-freezing temperatures for the first time this season.

The dry air behind the front will keep our area sunny through Saturday before a trailing wave passes to our north late that night. Temperatures will cool a bit again on Sunday, but not be as cold as Friday morning, and there may be some showers in the afternoon as moisture from the south moves northward behind the departing wave. In fact, a ridge is forecast to build behind the departing wave and the clockwise circulation around the west side of this ridge will continue drawing moisture north through the workweek, leading to warming temperatures and the continued slight chance of afternoon storms.

Another strong wave approaches the west coast late in the workweek, but again there is disagreement about the interaction with another tropical storm forecast to be off the coast of Baja. The European ECMWF keeps these storms separate and the American GFS phases them. Remember this was similar to the prediction last week, and the end result was that tropical moisture was shared by the storms leading to the heavy rains on Tuesday, even though the storms themselves remained separate. So again, the outlook for next weekend is uncertain.

Monsoonal moisture to hang around until mid next week

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Currently, monsoonal moisture has once again invaded the area from the south, leading to high clouds this afternoon. Additionally, a cool front is moving across our northern Colorado border, and that may help some afternoon or evening showers to develop.

The upper level low associated with this front is currently splitting, with some of the energy being left behind on the central west coast. Pieces of this lagging part of the trough will keep the chance of showers for Friday and Saturday as the energy moves either over us or just north of us, as there is model disagreement on exactly how this lagging trough will evolve.

There may be a break on Sunday and early Monday as transient ridging crosses the area ahead of another trough forecast to be over the Pacific northwest by late in the weekend. Not only will this wave pick up whatever energy remains from the lagging trough off the central west coast as it moves eastward, but the remnants of Tropical Storm Norbert, currently of the coast of Baja, will also be entrained as that storm moves north.

This may lead to another very wet period late Monday through Tuesday night before the westerly flow associated with the Pacific northwest trough moves over our area by Wednesday. Dry and cool air behind this trough will likely produce some great early fall weather through the end of the workweek before another trough looks to threaten next weekend’s weather. However, there is considerable model disagreement by then, so the forecast is uncertain.

Summer returns tomorrow for the following week, except on Sunday when another fall front moves through

Thursday, August 28, 2014

This incredibly wet and persistent monsoon is forecast to at least be interrupted starting this afternoon after the Steamboat Springs area received well over an inch of rain in the last two days. Currently, light rain persists as rain wraps around the backside of the departing low, and skies should clear with occasional showers by this afternoon.

Seasonal weather should return for Friday and Saturday, though there is enough remaining moisture from this last monsoonal surge to keep the threat of afternoon thunderstorms present each day.

By Saturday night or early Sunday, another strong front is forecast to clip Colorado and bring cooler temperatures and showers for much of the day Sunday, with snow showers likely at the highest elevations of the northern Colorado Rockies. Behind this front, much drier air first from the northwest early in the week and then from the southwest by midweek will invade our area, interrupting the dominant monsoonal pattern and bringing us beautiful late summer weather for the duration of the workweek.

Models forecast some sort of storm approaching the west coast by the end of the workweek, so the forecast for next weekend is uncertain. Some models hint at a reestablishment of the monsoon pattern as southwest flow ahead of the storm transports moisture from the south over our area again.