Roller coaster weather continues for the upcoming week

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Peeks of sun are over the Steamboat Springs area on this Thursday mid-afternoon with temperatures of 45 F at the Bob Adams airport and 24 F near the top of Mt. Werner. A small storm passes through on Friday followed by a much warmer weekend with a mix of sun and clouds that may extend through Monday, along with increasing winds from the southwest. Another wintry storm is forecast for Tuesday before warmer temperatures and the mix of sun and clouds return for the rest of the work week.

The complex weather pattern over our area is the result of incoming Pacific energy partially interacting with an expansive vortex of cold air and energy over northern Canada. High temperatures have been ten to fifteen degrees below our average of 56 F since Tuesday, and Friday won’t be much different with the final piece of that complex weather pattern passing over in the afternoon. There is not much moisture associated with this final wave and I would only expect an an inch or two, if that, at mid-mountain and above.

Meanwhile, a powerful storm currently located off the Aleutian Islands is forecast to move eastward and cross the West Coast late in the weekend. Warming behind the departing storm and ahead of the approaching storm will finally drag our Saturday temperatures to around average with a mix of sun and clouds. A piece of energy ejecting out of the approaching storm will move overhead Saturday night with increasing clouds and some breezes but no significant precipitation.

Winds out of the southwest and temperatures increase on Sunday as the main part of the Aleutian storm makes landfall. Depending on the speed of the storm, we may sneak in similar weather for some of Monday before the cold front and snow associated with the storm moves over our area. Tuesday should be cold, though this late in April precipitation may be a cold rain or a rain-snow mix in the Yampa Valley but all snow at the higher elevations.

The warm and dry weather is rapidly forecast to return for the rest of the work week, though another quick–moving storm may pass sometime during the following weekend. And in good news for the precipitation department, another major storm is forecast early in the following work week. Stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon when I should have a better idea on the timing and strength of the Tuesday storm.

More cool and unsettled weather for the work week

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Mostly sunny skies are over the Steamboat Springs area this Sunday noon with 41 F at the Bob Adams airport and 23 F at the top of the closed-for-the-season Steamboat Ski Resort. We’ll have three chances for snow on Monday, Wednesday and Friday before temperatures warm and skies clear for most of next weekend.

Temperatures are still cool behind the complex storm system that ended up leaving 13.5” at the top of Sunshine Peak and 10” at mid-mountain by last Friday morning, even as the sun returned for this weekend. Another stretch of cool and unsettled weather begins during Monday afternoon as a cold front currently making its way through Montana blasts through our area. Similar to Thursday but to a lesser extent, we may see storm cells move through with a lightning flash or two and brief but locally moderate to heavy snowfall. The storm moves through quickly with 3-6” of snow expected at mid-mountain by the time it ends by midnight Monday.

Low temperatures will be quite cold Tuesday morning behind the front and could be around fifteen degrees below our average of 27 F. Though we should see lots of sun on Tuesday, high temperatures will struggle to recover in this Siberian air mass and will only make it to ten or so degrees below our average of 54 F.

Meanwhile, a large storm currently in the Gulf of Alaska will eject some moisture and energy that crosses the Pacific Northwest coast Monday night. Weather forecast models have some of this storm moving eastward and mixing with another push of cold air from western Canada, though it is not clear how much energy and moisture ends up over our area. Clouds and possibly some light precipitation may begin ahead of this wave early Wednesday before we may see 3-6” of accumulating snowfall at mid-mountain by midnight Wednesday as the wave moves through.

There may be another wave on Thursday that may produce additional precipitation, though that will be dependent upon the evolution and interaction of that Pacific Northwest wave with more cool air from the Canadian Plains.

Our active weather pattern continues through Friday as another Siberian chunk of cold air is forecast to move overhead. Early indications are that this storm will carry less moisture than the preceding ones with some light snowfall possible during the day Friday and Friday night.

A break in the active weather pattern is advertised to start next weekend along with significant warming that will return the springtime vibe to the Yampa Valley. While this pleasant weather is currently forecast to extend through Monday, more snow may follow for Tuesday. Stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon for more details on the possible Friday storm and whether a nice weekend is still in store.

Active weather quiets down for the weekend

Thursday, April 15, 2021

The Steamboat Springs area saw periods of heavy snow early this Thursday afternoon as a very productive storm cell, accompanied by a couple of lightning flashes, passed overhead. More showers are expected for later today and Friday before we see a bit of a break for the weekend, especially on Sunday. More snow arrives on Monday.

The storm bringing us this wintry weather is currently located over the Colorado / Utah border, and waves of energy and moisture ejecting out of the storm have brought periods of snow, some heavy, to our area today. The Steamboat Powdercam showed 9” of snow had fallen by 3 pm with the Mid-Mountain Powdercam showing 6”. While some of that snow fell early this morning, about 4” fell between noon and 2 pm as a strong storm cell moved ahead of the parent storm.

Additional energy moving south from the the Canadian Plains will not only force the parent storm over our area tonight but also form an eddy that moves into the Desert Southwest for the weekend. We should see more snowfall as the parent storm moves overhead tonight, and continued showery snowfall behind the storm on Friday. Unfortunately, that eventual Desert Southwest eddy steals some energy from the parent storm, so our favorable northwest flow behind the storm will not be as productive as usual, but we could still see an additional 3-6” by Friday afternoon.

Showers should be mostly ended for Saturday as the focus for precipitation shifts to southern Colorado thanks to that Desert Southwest eddy. And Sunday is shaping up to be quite pleasant as some dry air between the two storm systems is forecast to move overhead.

But the break in the active weather will be short-lived as a wave of energy originally from Siberia is forecast to move south of the North Pole on Friday, across the Yukon on Saturday and over Montana by late Sunday. The strong cold front is timed to reach our area sometime during the day Monday, accompanied with another round of likely significant snow.

Meanwhile, a storm currently in the Gulf of Alaska will intensify over the weekend and early next week before ejecting a wave of energy and moisture toward the West Coast early in the work week. Weather forecast models at this point have additional waves of energy from Siberia heading toward our area for the rest of the work week as well for another week of cool and unsettled weather, though it is not clear how those waves will interact with the ejecting energy from the Gulf of Alaska storm.

Stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on a hopefully nice Sunday afternoon as the active weather for the next work week comes into sharper focus.

Cool and unsettled weather for the week ahead

Sunday, April 11, 2021

The Steamboat Springs area is currently seeing sunny skies and temperatures of 47 F in town and 28 F near the top of Mt. Werner on this Sunday noon. The cooler temperatures today as compared to yesterday will recover on Monday before a cooler and unsettled stretch of weather begins Tuesday and lasts through at least the work week. Expect periods of rain showers or a rain-snow mix at lower elevations and accumulating snow at higher elevations.

A grazing storm to our north that brought cooler air across northern Colorado will move eastward today as cold air sourced from the North Pole pours into the Pacific Northwest on the backside of the storm today and tomorrow. This forms an eddy that will meander around the Great Basin through the work week before it is forecast to shear apart as it moves eastward over our area near the end of the work week.

The evolution of these eddies are notoriously difficult to predict as they are cut off from the stronger forcing associated with the jet stream. Nonetheless, weather forecast models are converging on several periods of precipitation during the upcoming week as waves of energy and moisture move overhead.

So after a cooler and still-breezy day today, with high temperatures five or so degrees below our average of 51 F, we should see continued sunny skies, less wind and temperatures around five degrees above average on Monday.

Clouds should increase later Monday for a cloudy and cool Tuesday as a piece of energy is forecast to eject out of the eddy in the western Great Basin and move over our area Tuesday night. We could see some rain showers or a rain-snow mix at the lower elevations later Tuesday and overnight, with 3-6” of snow possible at the higher elevations by Wednesday morning.

Precipitation looks to decrease on Wednesday, though it is not clear if it just diminishes or ends. The uncertainty lies in the eventual shape of the wobbling eddy and whether we see enough southerly flow over our area to warm and dry the atmosphere.

It does appear there will be at least another, and possibly more, waves of precipitation as the Great Basin eddy evolves in a wobbly fashion through the work week and eventually moves through our area. There has not been much consistency either between or within iterations of the weather forecast models, so the timing of and even existence of these waves is just too uncertain to pinpoint at this time. Cool and unsettled weather is likely to continue through the work week, and possibly through the following weekend as the eddy reluctantly moves overhead.

Enjoy the sunny Closing Day at the Steamboat Ski Resort today, and stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon where I’ll have more details on the evolution of that Great Basin eddy.

Weather roller coaster continues through Closing Day

Thursday, April 8, 2021

After a cool and showery day yesterday, this Thursday noon is serving up sunny skies and temperatures of 51 F at the Bob Adams airport and 31 F near the top of the Steamboat Ski Resort. Cooler temperatures with some snowflakes are forecast for tomorrow before another warm and mostly sunny day follows on Saturday. A cold front will be on our doorstep for Closing Day on Sunday before the weather forecast turns cool and unsettled for the following work week.

A storm that moved through the Gulf of Alaska yesterday and another forecast to move through tomorrow will graze our area on Friday and Sunday, respectively. Both will bring cold fronts through the area, with some snow possible with the first centered on Friday morning. The southern extent of this storm is still uncertain even at this late hour, and we may see no snow at all or perhaps an inch or two. The cooling is more certain though, so while the clouds will dissipate in the afternoon, high temperatures will go from five to ten degrees above our average of 50 F today to that much below average tomorrow, depending on how much sun we see during the afternoon.

Saturday should be a repeat of today before a storm similar to the one tomorrow moves through our area later Sunday. While precipitation looks less likely on Sunday than Friday, the timing of the cold front is still a bit uncertain, with cooler air likely to start to impact the Steamboat Springs area by Sunday afternoon.

But the Sunday storm has a huge trick up its sleeve, and even while most of the storm will be past our area on Monday for a nice day, some air from the North Pole will continue to pour into the backside of the storm, creating a new storm that is forecast to meander around the Great Basin for the rest of the work week.

This new storm has only recently been coming into focus in the weather forecast models, so all I will say at this point is there will likely be an extended stretch of cool and unsettled weather that lasts through the work week and possibly into the following weekend. More details will certainly emerge by my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon, so enjoy the sunshine now since it may not be around much next week.

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