Current storm winding down with next one Friday

Sunday, January 21, 2018

The current storm is winding down late this Sunday even as snowfall rates picked up this afternoon for a time as some enhancement moved over our area. Showers will resume tapering off this evening and should end around midnight.

It will be a cold Monday morning, but a sharp ridge of high pressure will quickly pass through our area during the day and bring warming temperatures at the higher elevations and some sun.

Snow showers will begin anew Monday evening and last through the night as a weak storm to our north brushes northern Colorado. Weather models have trended weaker with these showers, though we may still be able to eke out an inch or two by Tuesday morning before the showers end and we see some sun by the afternoon.

Between the weak exiting storm Tuesday and the next larger storm for Friday, a ridge of high pressure builds over the Inter-mountain West and brings significant high-elevation warming and plenty of sun for Wednesday and most of Thursday. Low elevations will be slower to respond to the warming due to the presence of a temperature inversion, where temperature increases with height.

Meanwhile, our Friday storm will be pounding the the northern half of the West Coast midweek as the storm undergoes a modest split. Nonetheless, the southern part of the storm will travel through the Great Basin on Thursday and begin snow showers over our area as soon as Thursday night.

Moist northwest flow which is favorable for Mount Werner will be better established during this storm after the initial cold front passes around Thursday night, and snowfall looks to hang on through Saturday morning before tapering off starting Friday evening.

I fully expect changes to the forecast as we get closer to the event, especially with a splitting storm involved. Hopefully the details are ironed out by my next forecast on Thursday, but right now, I would guess 6-12” of snow is possible between Thursday night and a cold Saturday morning.

Weather models agree another transient ridge of high pressure will bring warming temperatures and sunny skies to our area behind the Friday storm by late in the weekend, until an even larger storm may grace our area around the following midweek.

Save your soles! If you do any walking in your ski boots on hard surfaces, then you know the grating and grinding sounds you hear can’t be good. In fact, worn boot soles make your binding unsafe as it interferes with the boot-binding interface. Cat Tracks are a flexible protector that keeps your boot soles pristine, and adds a cushion for walking comfort. When it’s time to click into bindings, I take them off and stash them in my coat pocket. Yaktrax are similar, but I have not used them since they appear they would take up a bit more space in my jacket pocket. But you get a rocker sole that promotes a natural stride which may be worth the space sacrifice. If I did not have to carry them around all day, these would be my choice.

Strengthening storm for the weekend

Thursday, January 18, 2018

A storm currently off the Pacific Northwest coast will elongate southwards on Friday before moving across the Great Basin on Saturday and Colorado on Sunday. Temperatures at the Steamboat Ski Area will remain above normal for today and Friday, with some high clouds filtering the sun and west to southwest winds becoming breezy by Friday afternoon.

Snow showers may start as early as Saturday morning, though weather models have trended slower and stronger with the storm, so accumulations may hold off until the afternoon. It will be a close call for Steamboat Springs, but it looks to be cold enough for snow at the lower elevations even at the start of the storm. If not, any liquid will quickly turn to snow as cool air moves over northern Colorado by later Saturday.

There may be several inches of snow on the hill by the time lifts stop turning Saturday afternoon, but the best accumulations will be from Saturday afternoon through midday Sunday as temperatures crash to seasonably cold levels overnight Saturday.

This will be a tricky storm for our area as northern Colorado will not see sustained northwest flow behind the storm until it is mostly over. However, the strengthening storm may create some enhanced snows over our area on Sunday as warm and moist air from the plains to our east is lifted over the Rocky Mountains. I would expect 4-8” of snow by the Sunday morning report, with up to another 3-6” during the day if the enhanced snowfall materializes.

Snow showers will taper off from Sunday afternoon through early Monday and may end for a time during the day Monday before picking up again by later Monday as some moist energy in northwest flow brushes by northern Colorado and leaves several inches for the Tuesday morning report.

Weather models advertise warming and drying for midweek, with another possibly strong storm on tap for the end of the work week.

Quiet work week weather followed by big storm next weekend

Sunday, January 14, 2018

A ridge of high pressure over the West Coast will yield to incoming Pacific energy by the end of the work week before a likely significant storm for the Steamboat Springs area starts around next weekend.

The currently warm temperatures and sunny skies will give way to some clouds and slightly cooler temperatures on Monday as a wave of energy travels down the east side of the ridge and grazes our area.

Tuesday will be mostly sunny ahead of some clouds and seasonably warm temperatures forecast for Wednesday and Thursday as incoming Pacific energy interacts with and weakens the ridge of high pressure, which will have moved eastward over the Intermountain West.

Weather models agree that a large winter storm will cross the West Coast around midweek and bring breezy to windy west-southwesterly flow over Colorado on Friday. As the storm crosses the Great Basin on Friday, it mixes with some cold air from western Canada and strengthens. There is uncertainty with the timing and evolution of the storm, but right now I expect that snow showers should start later Friday ahead of the storm, with snows likely turning moderate to heavy Friday night or Saturday as a cold front first stalls over our area and then moves southward.

There will be plenty of moisture and energy moving over our area, and it is not clear yet if the mountain-top flow swings to the northwest for enhanced precipitation, but snow amounts over a foot between Friday night and Sunday morning are possible.

The storm train may finally get started this winter season as another possibly significant storm gathers strength in the Gulf of Alaska. There is a break in the weather advertised for early in the next work week before the Gulf of Alaska weather-maker may bring another round of snows to the west around midweek.

Save your soles! If you do any walking in your ski boots on hard surfaces, then you know the grating and grinding sounds you hear can’t be good. In fact, worn boot soles make your binding unsafe as it interferes with the boot-binding interface. Cat Tracks are a flexible protector that keeps your boot soles pristine, and adds a cushion for walking comfort. When it’s time to click into bindings, I take them off and stash them in my coat pocket. Yaktrax are similar, but I have not used them since they appear they would take up a bit more space in my jacket pocket. But you get a rocker sole that promotes a natural stride which may be worth the space sacrifice. If I did not have to carry them around all day, these would be my choice.

Friday storm followed by drying for the weekend and early next week

Thursday, January 11, 2018

A currently building ridge of high pressure over the West Coast will dominate the Steamboat Springs weather for most of the next week ahead of a potentially large and significant winter storm around the following weekend. 10” of snow was reported by the Steamboat Ski Area this morning, with all but an inch of that falling during the day Wednesday.

A storm currently approaching the Pacific Northwest coast will travel over the West Coast ridge and mix with some cool air rotating around a deep vortex of very cold air over Hudson Bay, and bring snows back to our area starting tonight in moist northwest flow.

This storm will be an orographic event by the time it reaches Steamboat Springs, which means that precipitation will form as the air is lifted and subsequently cooled as it impinges on the Park Mountain Range. Temperatures at mountain-top level are expected to be in the range where light and fluffy snow is efficiently produced, and I would expect 1-4” of snow for the Friday morning report, followed by 3-6” during the first half of the day. Snowfall will taper off in the afternoon, though light snow showers may persist into Saturday morning, adding another inch or two for a 4-8” Saturday morning report.

More cool air rotating around the Hudson Bay vortex will keep some clouds and seasonable temperatures over our area through the weekend and Monday before incoming Pacific energy pushes a now-weakening West Coast ridge over our area around midweek. There is disagreement as to how much Pacific energy travels over the ridge versus through the ridge, with the European ECMWF insistent that a quick-moving compact storm affect our area around or just after after midweek, while the American GFS is drier and further north with that energy.

In any event, this is all pushed to our east as a strong and likely significant storm from the Pacific moves through the Great Basin and over our area by around next weekend.

Keep your toes warm during the winter storm forecast for next weekend by ordering today! I’ve used the awesome Hotronic foot warmers from their beginnings, and can honestly say that each iteration of the product is better than the last. I have the S4 custom, attached to my powerstrap so they never fall off, and my toes stay warm for my entire ski day.

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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