Sunday, February 5, 2017
The re-emergence of a strong Bering Sea ridge, which was observed earlier this winter season, has directed cool air from Siberia and the North Pole southward into the Gulf of Alaska while also routing moist Pacific energy underneath in another incarnation of the Pineapple Express.
A complicated weather forecast ensues as the warm Pacific airmass battles the cold northern-latitude airmass for about the next week. Models have trended toward a more diffuse solution with less cold air for the Steamboat Springs area, bringing snow showers to the hill and a rain/snow mix to the valley by Monday afternoon.
Mainly light precipitation should turn to all snow and continue overnight, leaving 1-4” on the Tuesday morning report until a cool front passes on Tuesday, increasing snowfall rates and decreasing snow densities during the day Tuesday in breezy west to northwest flow. Temperatures warm again later Tuesday into early Wednesday ahead of another wave of energy that will graze our area during the day Wednesday, again increasing snowfall rates under continued breezy conditions.
Snowfall estimates for the hill are tough due to the varying temperatures and it’s affect on the snow density, but I would expect 6-12” of snow by Wednesday morning and another 2-5” during the day that will be reported Thursday morning.
Currently, Thursday looks like a precipitation-free day with some clouds, before another warm Pacific storm spreads showers over our area around Friday ahead of the Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival weekend. Temperatures will be even warmer, with rain likely in the valley and snow showers above mid-mountain during the day Friday before cooler air arrives by nightfall, turning the rain to snow.
Significant accumulations are expected by Saturday morning before cooler and drier air ends the snows by later Saturday. There is some trailing energy that gets left behind in the southwestern US for Sunday, and our weather may or may not be affected by that late in the weekend or early next week before a western ridge is advertised to bring warming and drying to the area for most of the following work week.