Record heat likely on Tuesday

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Temperatures have already reached the eighty degree mark in Steamboat Springs under cloudless skies this Sunday noon, on their way towards ninety. Expect upper eighties to low nineties and lots of sun for much of the work week before a storm passing well to our north brings some clouds and slightly cooler temperatures in the eighties for the end of the work week and next weekend. Chances for beneficial precipitation are near nil for the upcoming week, though longer range weather forecast models offer some hope in the extended period.

A ridge of high pressure sandwiched between strong and cold storms east of Hudson Bay and the Gulf of Alaska is centered over the Rocky Mountains, and is responsible for our current hot and dry weather. Our last relatively cool day was on Friday when a dry cool front grazed our area, and brought our high temperature for the day down to 77 F, which was still 5 F above our average of 72 F for that date. Interestingly, the low temperature for Friday morning was 32 F, around 5 F below average, but combined with the high temperature of 85 F the day before meant that we had a 53 F temperature swing between Thursday afternoon and Friday morning!

I hope you enjoyed the exceedingly pleasant and cool-feeling Friday since the heat returns in a big way for the upcoming week. The current hot temperatures fifteen degrees above average grow only hotter during the first half of the work week as hot air ahead of the Gulf of Alaska storm amplifies the ridge of high pressure over the Rocky Mountains and brings even warmer temperatures close to twenty degrees above average to our area. While high temperature records may be threatened on Monday (92 in 1936) and Wednesday (89 F in 1893), they almost certainly be broken on Tuesday when 86 F was recorded in 1974.

The Gulf of Alaska storm is forecast to be pushed inland by upstream Pacific energy during the first half of the work week and battle the ridge of high pressure over the Rocky Mountains. The end result will be a storm that eventually travels through the central Canadian Plains and a squashed ridge of high pressure over our area. This allows for some increased breezes from the west and the gradual introduction of mid and high level moisture from the Pacific through next weekend that should eventually produce afternoon clouds over our area that will temper the afternoon heat.

Unfortunately, it appears the low levels of the atmosphere will remain relatively dry and any precipitation produced by the clouds will likely result in erratic gusty winds and possibe dry lightening depending upon the stability of the atmosphere. So be aware that the wildfire threat will be increasing over the next week.

Additional Pacific storms follow starting late next weekend, and these will likely trek closer to our area thanks to the weakened high pressure that is left over the Rocky Mountains. While a weather forecast over a week away is tenuous at best, we may see some better chances for wetting rains early in the following work week and possibly again later in the week as another Pacific storm may develop over the Pacific Northwest and allow moisture to our south to move over our area as winds turn to be from the southwest ahead of the storm.

I’ll review any new temperature records set in Steamboat Springs in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon as well as have more details on the several Pacific storms that may affect our area for the weekend and the following work week.

Cool front tonight followed by continued hot and dry weather

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Temperatures in the low to mid-eighties and gusty winds from the south and southwest are over the Steamboat Springs area this Thursday afternoon. We’ll see some relief from the heat as a cool front moves through tonight along with a chilly start to Friday morning, but the hot and dry weather returns for the following week.

As an administrative note, I have turned back on the NOAA Smoke Plume forecasts for those interested in following where smoke that may be over our area is coming from and how thick it may be, and the first blog post where I discussed this model is here.

A compact and powerful storm for the season that brought some accumulating snow to the northern California mountains last night is currently rotating through the northern Great Basin. We will see continued hot and windy weather ahead of the storm today before the grazing storm brings a cool front through our area tonight. So expect a cool Friday morning with temperatures in the thirties which may require any outdoor plants to be covered, with temperatures quickly warming to five to ten degrees or so above our average high temperature of 72 F.

A ridge of high pressure rebuilds over the Rocky Mountains ahead of another powerful storm that is forecast to spin in the Gulf of Alaska through the early part of next week. So expect more summery days filled with sunshine and hot temperatures with relatively quiet winds.

Some of the storm in the Gulf of Alaska is forecast to eject inland by incoming energy traveling through the northern Pacific, but the massive ridge of high pressure over the Rocky Mountains will resist. The battle between the air masses will result in the storm being shunted to our northwest and into the central Canadian Plains through midweek, with no changes to our weather expected till perhaps near the end of the work week.

Interestingly, the battle will deform the ridge of high pressure for a time before it is forecast to rebuild further west. If this happens as currently forecast, we may see some relatively cooler temperatures for the end of the work week and next weekend along with some very modest shower chances as the upper level flow turns to be from our favorable northwest direction.

Enjoy the quintessential Colorado summery weather this upcoming week, and I’ll have more details on the possible shower chances to end the work week in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon.

Hot and mostly sunny week ahead

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Sunny skies with temperatures in the mid-seventies are over the Steamboat Springs area this Sunday noon. While there may be a slight chance of some afternoon and evening storms today, that chance goes away for the rest of the upcoming week as hot temperatures and afternoon breezes from the southwest dominate the weather.

While I suspect Steamboat Springs saw at least near-record temperatures on Friday when the Bob Adams airport hit 86 F around 4 pm, which is 16 F above the average of 70 F for that site, the official National Weather Service data indicated that the town of Hayden broke the daily records for high temperature both on Friday when they recorded a high of 93 F (which broke the previous record of 91 set in 1977) and on Saturday when they recorded a high of 91 F (which broke the previous record of 89 set in 1946). Both of these records are well above their average high temperature of 76 F.

We may see a chance for an afternoon or evening shower today, though less of a chance than yesterday when only a few drops of rain fell from the sky around 7 pm. There really is no hope of precipitation for the upcoming week as a a powerful trough of low pressure develops off the West Coast from a series of storms moving through the Gulf of Alaska, and keeps hot, dry and increasingly breezy winds from the southwest over our area.

A dry and compact storm currently spinning off the West Coast will be forced inland by the developing low pressure in its vicinity and skirt just to our west on Tuesday. So after a hot and dry Monday, we may see a few degrees of cooling on Tuesday, but more likely increasing breezes from the southwest as the storm scoots by.

That area of low pressure off the West Coast is forecast to move inland and rotate to our northwest starting midweek, so after decreasing winds on Wednesday, they should be increasing again on Thursday and be stronger than on Tuesday.

The trough of low pressure will be close enough to force a cool front through our area late Thursday or early Friday. At this point, there is no indication of precipitation, but we will see some relief from the heat on Friday as high temperatures cool from the eighties to the seventies, which will still be above our average high temperature.

But the hot and dry weather returns for the weekend and looks to persist into the following week. Unfortunately, longer-range weather forecast models have backed off any moisture signals from the south, which deals a blow to the hoped for beginnings of the North American Monsoon discussed in the last weather narrative.

Be mindful of increasing fire danger through the week as the winds pick up, and I’ll have a better idea about how much cooling we will see on Friday in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon.

Hot week ahead with some shower chances this weekend

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Mostly sunny skies with delightful temperatures around 77 F are over the Steamboat Springs area this Thursday mid-afternoon. Warmer temperatures are in store as we head into the weekend with some shower chances centered on Saturday and Sunday afternoon and evenings. A storm passing to our north will first cool the hot afternoon temperatures by several degrees as we close out the weekend ahead of drier and breezier weather for the upcoming work week.

A large ridge of high pressure over the West will move eastward and over the Rocky Mountains on Friday, bringing the warmest day of the season with plenty of sunshine. If we don’t hit the eighty degree mark today, we should tomorrow as the ridge sits overhead. And this summery warmth is several weeks early as our current average high temperature is only 69 F.

A storm currently in the Gulf of Alaska is forecast to move across Montana on Sunday and drag a weak cool front through our area. Expect another warm day on Saturday ahead of the front, with some shower potential on Saturday afternoon and evening.

We should see temperatures knocked back several degrees on Sunday, though they will still be around ten degrees above average, along with breezier conditions and better chances for afternoon and evening showers as moisture from the south is drawn northward.

Some energy left behind from that Gulf of Alaska storm is forecast to sit off the West Coast for a couple of days before being forced to move inland and near our area around midweek by more energy moving through the Gulf of Alaska. Ahead of that, expect the shower potential to diminish on Monday and most of Tuesday as dry air from the Desert Southwest moves overhead.

By later Tuesday or Wednesday, weather forecast models have that left-over piece of energy off the West Coast moving near our area thanks to additional upstream Pacific energy. The system will be quite dry, but there may enough moisture and energy for a chance of some showers later Tuesday.

There is considerable uncertainty regarding the evolution of upstream Pacific energy, with the American GFS keeping it mostly to our northwest late in the work week while the European ECMWF has it moving further eastward and closer to our area. Unfortunately, it does not look like we will see any moisture from this, but the ECMWF solution predicts cooler temperatures by the end of the work week.

And for the weekend, the ECMWF is cooler and drier as compared to the American GFS which has a ridge of high pressure building over the West. Some moisture may be drawn northward in the southerly flow on the backside of the ridge for an increase in shower chances next weekend, though those chances would be highest to our south. Interestingly, this pattern either mimics or may truly be the first hints that the North American Monsoon is becoming established, though a forecast ten days away will almost certainly change over the coming week.

Enjoy the summery weekend, and I’ll have an updated forecast in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon.

Cooler and showery end to Memorial Day weekend

Sunday, May 30, 2021

While the Steamboat Springs area saw some clouds and sun for the first part of this Sunday, temperatures have dropped and thicker clouds have moved in ahead of a good chance of late afternoon and evening thunderstorms. Memorial Day will be similar, with slightly less of a chance of storms before a warming and drying trend starts on Tuesday ahead of possibly our first eighty degree day of the season.

Our current weather is the result of a diffuse area of low pressure around northern Baja and a fast-moving storm currently centered just north of North Dakota. The southerly flow ahead of the Baja storm helped bring moisture to our area today while the grazing North Dakata storm dragged a cool front through our area around 3 pm this afternoon. In fact, the temperature near the top of Mt. Werner fell about 10 degrees in the half hour after 3 pm while the temperature at the Bob Adams airport fell about 8 degrees in the half hour after 3:30 pm.

Showers should form along and behind the front before ending later this evening. Similar to today, we should see a nice Memorial Day morning before showers may return for tomorrow afternoon and evening, though with less of a chance than today.

A warming and drying trend starts on Tuesday as a ridge of high pressure builds over the West, though there will still be decreasing chances for afternoon storms. After a couple of days with high temperatures in the sixties today and tomorrow, expect low seventies for Tuesday, upper seventies for Wednesday and perhaps our first eighty degree day by Thursday or Friday.

And even though weather forecast models agree on the warm late-week weather, they disagree on the shower potential. A storm currently rounding the developing ridge of high pressure over the West Coast may or may not partially mix with that Baja storm, and the American GFS wants to draw some moisture over our area for increased storm chances late in the work week while the European ECMWF wants to keep the storms more separate and our area drier.

Regardless, there is agreement again that most of the Baja storm won’t be moving much, or even moving to the southwest for a day or two. Eventually, the storm is forecast to be ejected to the east by a powerful incoming Pacific storm and bring another couple of days of good shower chances, though it is not clear if it is during next weekend or soon after.

And it appears we will see some affects from that incoming Pacific storm, the least of which will be wind. So stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon when I’ll have more details on the weather for next weekend.

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