Sunday, October 24, 2021
After a rainy start to the day in Steamboat Springs, skies have cleared and temperatures have warmed to around fifty degrees this Sunday mid-afternoon. Warm and windy weather is expected on Monday ahead of a strong and complex storm that is forecast to bring rain that turns to snow on Tuesday. Showery weather will hang around behind the departing storm on Wednesday, and possibly some of Thursday before sunny and warmer weather closes out the work week.
Some energy ejecting out ahead of a monster storm currently affecting the West Coast brought the unsettled weather to our area yesterday afternoon and last night, with a tenth of an inch or two of liquid precipitation around town and an inch or two of snow at the higher elevations. This storm developed in the Gulf of Alaska and is currently bringing excessive precipitation and high winds to much of the West Coast. In fact, due to the rapid intensification of the storm, it is called a bomb cyclone, which technically means that the central pressure of the storm, or cyclone, has dropped at least 24 millibars in 24 hours.
That storm is forecast to break apart into a couple of pieces, with one such piece moving across the Great Basin on Monday while another piece travels into Canada. The Great Basin piece of the storm is forecast to bring a cold front through our area Tuesday morning, and ahead of that winds will be increasing from the southwest. So Monday should be mostly sunny, windy and warm as air from the Desert Southwest is carried overhead, and may be the last day of sixty degree weather for the season.
Impressive moisture will accompany the Great Basin storm, and we should see good rain showers at the lower elevations Tuesday morning turning to snow by the afternoon, and all snow at the higher elevations. The storm is expected to split as it moves over our area, which adds some forecast uncertainty, but right now the bulk of the storm is expected to be past our area by Tuesday night. We could see 1-4” of snow down at the Yampa Valley floor by Tuesday night with 3-6” or more at the higher elevations. Travel will likely be difficult at times almost all of Tuesday, especially over Rabbit Ears Pass.
However, our favorable cool, moist and unstable flow from the northwest behind the storm will keep snow showers going through Wednesday and possibly into Thursday. Light accumulations are possible at the higher elevations, though the showers will become lighter, more intermittent and more confined to the higher elevations as the storm continues moving to the east.
A transient ridge of high pressure is then forecast to move and build overhead by Friday and into the weekend for warmer and dry weather as another storm develops in the Gulf of Alaska. Weather forecast models agree that some of that storm will eventually make its way toward our area, though it is not clear if that is later in the weekend or soon thereafter. I’ll certainly have more details about that in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon.
Thursday, October 21, 2021
Mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the fifties are over the Steamboat Springs area early this Thursday afternoon. Friday should be similar to today but warmer before we see a cool front on Saturday with showers starting later in the day and continuing into Sunday morning. While the weather clears for later Sunday and at least some of Monday, several days of stormy weather are forecast starting later Monday or Tuesday.
Currently a large and complex storm is now affecting the northern half of the West Coast while a transient ridge of high pressure builds over the Intermountain West ahead of the storm. We should see another lovely day on Friday with lots of sun and high temperatures in the sixties, around ten degrees above our average of 56 F, which incidentally is falling at a rate of a half degree a day.
Some energy ejecting out ahead of the storm will drag a cool front through our area on Saturday with gradually falling temperatures, increasing clouds and showers expected later in the day, overnight and into Sunday morning. There may be an inch or two of accumulations at the higher elevations, but only liquid is expected down at the Yampa Valley floor.
The weather should clear by Sunday afternoon, though temperatures will be slow to recover in the cool air left behind by the small Saturday storm.
Meanwhile, additional upstream Pacific energy and cold air moving from the North Pole across the Bering Sea will keep the complex parent storm evolving through the weekend, with a large part of the storm forecast to enter the Great Basin on Monday. Temperatures will warm back into the sixties for at least part of Monday as the increasing winds from the southwest ahead of the storm carry warm air from the south over our area.
Weather forecast models are struggling with the evolution of the storm as the incoming Pacific energy interacts with the southward moving polar air and the parent storm. Right now, cold and wet weather is a slam dunk with snow at all elevations and difficult travel, though it is not clear if it arrives later Monday or Tuesday. Stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon where I expect to have at least some of the details ironed out.
Sunday, October 17, 2021
Temperatures are in the fifties this Sunday noon in the Steamboat Springs area under brilliant blue skies. We will reach into the sixties degree today and Monday before a quick-moving storm brings a cold front through our area Monday night along with rain and snow showers at the lower elevations and snow showers at the higher elevations that will last through Tuesday. Pleasant weather with warming temperatures is forecast for the rest of the work week and heading into next weekend.
The snow from the early week storm is rapidly disappearing in town, though it is melting far more reluctantly at the higher elevations. We should see plenty of sun for the rest of today and most of tomorrow with temperatures reaching into the sixties, which is over five degrees above our average of 58 F.
The southern section of a storm just now approaching the Pacific Northwest coast will form an eddy cut off from the main jet stream that is forecast to travel across the Great Basin on Monday and just north of our area on Tuesday. Expect increasing clouds later Monday with a cold front passing through Monday night. Any rain showers at the lower elevations should turn to snow showers by Tuesday morning, with maybe an inch or so of accumulations at the lower elevations and 3-6” possible at the higher elevations as snow showers become more intermittent and continue through the day in our favorable cold, moist and unstable northwest flow behind the storm. As was the case earlier this week, temperatures on Tuesday will likely be mired in the thirties, along with some breezes that will make for a raw feeling fall day.
But the interruption in our current pleasant weather will be brief as a ridge of high pressure moves overhead and strengthens through the rest of the work week, with temperatures warming back into the fifties as the sun returns.
For those who were reminded last Tuesday and Wednesday of just how much outside work still needs to be done before winter, most of this coming week will be a great opportunity to make amends as a significant pattern change looks to be in the offing around next weekend, or soon after. Stay tuned to this blog as I’ll surely be talking about that in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon.
Thursday, October 14, 2021
The town of Steamboat Springs woke up to another 1 - 2” of snow this Thursday morning, on top of the 4 - 6” that we woke up to yesterday morning. Temperatures are currently in the low to mid-thirties under cloudy skies early this Thursday afternoon, with another round of snow showers forecast for later today and tonight. While the snows should end by Friday morning, the cold temperatures will stick around for another day, even as the sun returns. But temperatures will warm under sunny skies through the weekend, especially after the snow melts.
An unseasonably cold air mass is sitting over the western half of the U.S. thanks to a couple of storms that originated in the Bering Sea and developed in the Gulf of Alaska, with air sourced from the North Pole. Yesterday, the high temperature at the Bob Adams airport was 33 F, over twenty-five degrees below our average of 60 F, with not much warming expected for today. Snow showers should restart later today as the final push of cold air moves across, and they should taper off after midnight before ending by Friday morning.
We should see increasing sunshine as Friday wears on, but a lot of the sun’s energy will go into melting the fresh snow rather than warming the air, so expect some warming tomorrow, but not a lot, as temperatures are expected to get into the forties.
While another storm forms in the Bering Sea and develops in the Gulf of Alaska this weekend, the warm and strong southwesterly flow ahead of the storm will force a downstream ridge of high pressure to strengthen and move overhead. We’ll see lots of sunshine for the weekend, and the warming that results will depend on how quickly the snow melts. We could see temperatures around fifty on Saturday and in the fifties by Sunday as seasonable fall weather returns.
The next incoming storm from the Gulf of Alaska is forecast to split as it makes landfall along the West Coast late in the weekend. Weather forecast models are struggling with the path and strength of the storm, but increasing clouds on a seasonable Monday in advance of the storm are a good bet. Stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon for details about possible precipitation on Tuesday.
Sunday, October 10, 2021
Temperatures are in the low forties this Sunday noon in the Steamboat Springs area as rain showers at the lower elevations and snow showers at the higher elevations taper off. We’ll see some peeks of sun between the diminishing showers later today and more sun tomorrow before the first of two wintry storms invade our area starting Tuesday. The first storm will bring cold and wet weather through Wednesday, along with several inches of snow possible on the Yampa Valley floor followed by the second wintry storm on Thursday.
The weekend storm which began Friday afternoon produced about 2” of snow at mid-mountain, as shown by the latest Steamboat mid-mountain Powdercam, and about 4.5” up top, as shown by the Sunshine Peak Powedercam. With snow levels around 8500′, the town received between four tenths and a half inch of rainfall as of this morning, and the rain and snow showers should taper off through the day as the storm vacates the area.
Though we will see a brief reprieve to the wet weather on a mostly sunny and warmer Monday, an unseasonably cold and wet storm currently affecting the Pacific Northwest coast is forecast to cross the Great Basin on Monday and bring cold and wet weather to our area starting on Tuesday.
Most of the precipitation will be along and behind the cold front, due between noon and sunset on Tuesday, with snow at the higher elevations descending down to the valley floor by later in the day. The center of the storm is forecast to pass almost directly overhead Tuesday night, with good snowfall predicted behind the center of the storm as we see our favorable cold, wet and unstable flow from the northwest. Town will likely see its first accumulating snowfall of the season, especially on grassy surfaces, with several inches possible by Wednesday morning, and around 4-8” of snowfall up top.
Travel over Rabbit Ears Pass may be difficult at times from Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday morning as the storm barrels through our area. Showers will taper off during the day Wednesday at the lower elevations, though may persist through sunset at the higher elevations.
But they will begin again by Thursday morning as another storm is forecast to push through during the day. This one will not be as strong as the early week one, but will still be cold and bring more snow showers, with further accumulations very likely at the higher elevations but more uncertain at the valley floor.
High temperatures are forecast to dive to the low forties on Tuesday and fall even further to the upper thirties on Wednesday and Thursday, which is over twenty degrees below our average of 61 F and closer to temperatures observed in late November rather than mid-October!
The storm is forecast to end by Friday morning, with drying and warming headed into next weekend. Enjoy the storm, and I’ll have a recap of the snow amounts in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon, and discuss whether a nice weekend is still in the forecast.