Arctic freeze and snow follows mostly dry weekend
Thursday, December 29, 2016
Three storm will affect the Steamboat Springs area weather over the next week, with the last one opening the door to frigid air from Siberia and the North Pole for the next work week.
Ahead of that, Friday looks similar to today, with sunny skies and another chilly start to the morning. But upstream, the first storm currently spinning west of southern California will be forced eastward across the southern Great Basin by a piece of the second storm moving south from the Gulf of Alaska. While mid and high clouds from the first storm look likely Saturday, the bulk of the precipitation will stay in Arizona and New Mexico.
Meanwhile, the second storm, having split earlier in the week and leaving energy behind a chunk of energy that eventually migrates to the north of Hawaii (and which may eventually visit our area), undergoes another split as it is forced to the Pacific Northwest coast by the third storm on Friday. The end result is that after the first storm passes on Saturday, unsettled weather is forecast for Sunday as first the northern piece of the second storm stretches over our area followed by the southern piece. Again, the bulk of the precipitation is forecast to stay south of our area in Arizona and New Mexico, but light snow is possible during the day Sunday.
Meanwhile, the third storm phases with some bitterly cold air from western Canada originally sourced from Siberia, and elongates to the west and east, eventually forming a frontal boundary that encroaches over our area around Monday. There is uncertainty with respect to how much Pacific moisture overruns the frontal boundary, but light to moderate snows are currently expected for Monday and Tuesday, possibly extending into Wednesday.
What is more certain, though, is the cold. Frigid air will pour into the region behind the front, creating a bitterly cold Tuesday and likely colder Wednesday and Thursday. Low temperatures in the minus tens and twenties are possible along with highs below zero if the coldest air moves over our area.
Even though the cold temperatures will moderate somewhat after then, below average wintertime temperatures are expected to last into the following weekend with little precipitation.
The forecast is likely to change with the third storm being so dynamic, so stay tuned for my early-week weather discussion next Sunday or Monday.