Thursday, April 26, 2018
A ridge of high pressure currently over the western states will be pushed eastward by a large Pacific storm currently spinning off the West Coast. The beautiful springtime weather we are currently experiencing in Steamboat Springs will continue through the first part of Saturday as the ridge passes over our area early in the weekend and warms temperatures to above normal.
Meanwhile, the Pacific storm will make landfall in Oregon early Saturday morning. Southwest flow and some Pacific energy moving through the storm looks to combine with some Gulf of Mexico moisture that was transported northward from the recently departed storm, bringing the possibility of warm showers to our area by Saturday afternoon and evening, more numerous and stronger to our south.
Dry air in continued southwest flow will end any showers by early Sunday morning and make for a gorgeous spring day.
However, additional waves of Pacific energy will interact with the West Coast storm in a complicated and difficult to predict manner through most of the following work week.
The first of these will elongate the Great Basin storm southward early Monday before moving over Colorado later in the day and sparking afternoon and early evening showers. The second wave of Pacific energy will then act to split the Great Basin storm late Monday, with part of the storm traveling eastward over our area on Tuesday and part of it traveling southward through the Great Basin.
So the late Monday showers are forecast to continue through Monday night and Tuesday as part of the Great Basin storm moves across Colorado. Temperatures will also cool, lowering snow levels, as cool and moist northwest flow follows the storm later Tuesday, leaving snow accumulations above 9000 feet or so.
With so many moving pieces, I expect the forecast to change over the coming week, but right now a break in the precipitation is advertised for the first half of Wednesday before a separate surge of cool air from western Canada brings a cold front through northern Colorado later in the day, along with another round of showers.
Meanwhile, the southern piece of the Great Basin storm is eventually forecast to moves across Arizona and New Mexico around midweek, with precipitation from that staying to our south later Wednesday and Thursday. Though this storm could end up moving slower than forecast, it likely won’t affect our weather do to its southern trajectory, and nicer weather is currently forecast for northern Colorado for the end of the work week and the following weekend.
Wednesday, April 25, 2018
The first video was taken by Ski Town broker Dave Moloney on the Monday before Closing Day. The morning ski report from the Steamboat Ski area had 5.5” of new snow at mid-mountain and 8” up top; between 5am and 9am, some Steamboat Magic produced an additional 6” of snow up top! After an outstanding run down No Names mid-morning, we hiked to Middle Rib from Last Chance since the Pony Express lift had closed for the season. These aspen just off the trail bekon to me all summer when riding up the Pioneer mountain bike trail.
The second video and some associated pictures (click the arrows on the right and left hand side of the pictures that appear when hovering - the video is the last one), also taken by Ski Town broker Dave Moloney, was on the Sunday after Closing Day. Quite the warm day, with temperatures reaching 70F in the Yampa Valley, but the corn skiing on the hill was excellent. We hiked up to the top of the Thunderhead lift via Vagabond and skied Rudi’s Run.
Sunday, April 22, 2018
For those of us still left in suddenly-quiet Steamboat Springs, a pleasant workweek will be briefly interrupted by a storm grazing northern Colorado from late Monday through Tuesday. But this is after we see a mostly gorgeous Sunday behind the disappointing storm that left only about 4” on the mountain by Saturday morning. We may see some clouds and a shower later this afternoon as residual moisture is heated and lifted by the increasingly strong springtime sun.
Then, a storm currently over the Pacific Northwest will split as it crosses the Great Basin tonight, and the energetic southern piece of the storm will drag a cold front through our area late Monday. So while Monday will start out nice, we may see some showers ahead of the front Monday afternoon.
This storm does have cold air, bringing accumulating snow to Mount Werner and snow on the grassy surfaces of the Yampa Valley. Tuesday should be a fairly raw day featuring cool temperatures and snow showers which should end by Tuesday evening, with total accumulations from the storm of 1-4” on the hill.
If skies clear Tuesday night, Wednesday will start quite chilly, but plenty of increasingly strong springtime sun should allow temperatures to rebound towards normal as the day goes on.
Another grazing storm, this one further north, will drag a dry cool front through northern Colorado on Thursday, bringing another cool start to the day. But like Wednesday, temperatures should recover under mostly sunny skies.
Interestingly, the Thursday storm that passes by had split off the West Coast earlier in the week on Tuesday, leaving a strong and unpredictable storm churning off the West Coast. Weather forecast models have struggled mightily with this storm the past few days, leading to a very low confidence weekend forecast. It appears we have a likelihood of some warm rain showers later Friday into Saturday morning as moisture is drawn over our area from the south ahead of the storm and interacts with some energy ejecting out of the storm.
While earlier weather forecast models had indicated an unsettled weekend as the storm passed near or over our area, it currently looks like the bulk of the storm may pass to our northwest, sparing most of the weekend from rain showers.
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Thursday, April 19, 2018
A large storm currently in southern Nevada will move through the Great Basin today and bring precipitation to most of the Colorado mountains starting tonight. Breezy southerly winds and warm temperatures will be felt across the Steamboat Springs area today before energy rotating around the storm brings rain showers to the lower elevations and snow showers to the higher elevations later this evening.
Showers should increase towards daybreak and continue through a seasonably cold Friday, with broad counter-clockwise circulation around the storm transporting warm and humid air from the Gulf of Mexico first northward and then westward toward northwest Colorado. Some of these showers may produce locally moderate to heavy precipitation, making travel difficult for most of the day Friday at higher elevations. The Yampa Valley floor appears to be warm enough for predominantly rain, though we’ll likely see some snow during the heavier showers.
I would expect 4-8” during the day tomorrow and another 3-6” overnight at mid-mountain, with more likely at higher elevations, as the flow eventually swings to the north and northwest direction by Saturday morning. Showers will hold on for most of the day Saturday, bringing another 1-4” of snow at mid-mountain under continuing cool temperatures.
Warming and drying is advertised for Sunday, before a weak and relatively warm storm grazes northern Colorado later Monday, bringing another round of showers to our area. Cool air behind the storm will keep Tuesday seasonably cool before several additional weak waves brings the threat of afternoon showers to our area on Wednesday and Thursday.
Generally tranquil and seasonable weather is advertised heading into the following weekend as a large storm forms off the California coast.
Still skiing? Then save your soles! As the snow disappears in the spring, you know the grating and grinding sounds you hear from your ski boots as you walk across hard surfaces can’t be good. In fact, worn boot soles make your binding unsafe as it interferes with the boot-binding interface. Cat Tracks are a flexible protector that keeps your boot soles pristine, and adds a cushion for walking comfort. When it’s time to click into bindings, I take them off and stash them in my coat pocket. Yaktrax are similar, but I have not used them since they appear they would take up a bit more space in my jacket pocket. But you get a rocker sole that promotes a natural stride which may be worth the space sacrifice. If I did not have to carry them around all day, these would be my choice.
Sunday, April 15, 2018
Another unseasonably cold and quick-moving storm is forecast for northern Colorado on Tuesday, while a slower and wetter storm will likely impact most of Colorado for Friday. Currently for Closing Day at the Steamboat Ski area, the weather will feature partly cloudy skies and seasonable temperatures with a small chance of an afternoon shower.
Temperatures will warm to above average on Monday with plenty of sun and breezy southwest winds as a sharp ridge of high pressure builds over the Rockies. The ridge builds in advance of a strong and cold storm that will bring significant precipitation to the West Coast on Monday. The storm weakens as it crosses the Great Basin, and though moisture is sparse by the time it arrives over Steamboat Springs on Tuesday, there is plenty of very cold air.
Current forecasts bring the strong cold front associated with the storm through our area around noon on Tuesday, along with snow down to the Yampa Valley floor. The strong front with sparse moisture makes for a tricky forecast, but I expect 3-6” of snow at mid-mountain, which would have been reported on the Wednesday morning report if the mountain was still open.
After a very chilly start to Wednesday morning, especially if skies clear late overnight, dry weather with warming temperatures should be noted for Wednesday and especially Thursday.
Meanwhile, another Pacific storm crosses the West Coast around midweek. Weather forecast models have this storm taking a more southern route through the west than the previous two storms, eventually becoming an area of low pressure cut off from the main jet stream. These cutoff lows are a feature of fall and spring weather, and are notoriously difficult to forecast as there is not a lot of forcing from the somewhat more predictable jet stream.
Furthermore, the broad counter-clockwise circulation around this storm, which is forecast to travel along the Colorado and New Mexico border, will transport the warm and humid air from the Gulf of Mexico first northward and then westward, bringing significant moisture to parts of the Front Range and the mountains to the west.
Timing and position are still uncertain, though that should become clearer by my Thursday forecast, but a significant storm for at least the northern Front Range for Friday is likely. If the storm develops as advertised, the Steamboat Springs area could also get in on the action as the Gulf of Mexico moisture travels over the Continental Divide and brings the possibility of moderate to heavy snow to northwest and north central Colorado.
Behind the storm, precipitation tapers off around Saturday after which we will see some warming and drying to finish the weekend.
Save your soles! As the snow disappears in the spring, you know the grating and grinding sounds you hear from your ski boots as you walk across hard surfaces can’t be good. In fact, worn boot soles make your binding unsafe as it interferes with the boot-binding interface. Cat Tracks are a flexible protector that keeps your boot soles pristine, and adds a cushion for walking comfort. When it’s time to click into bindings, I take them off and stash them in my coat pocket. Yaktrax are similar, but I have not used them since they appear they would take up a bit more space in my jacket pocket. But you get a rocker sole that promotes a natural stride which may be worth the space sacrifice. If I did not have to carry them around all day, these would be my choice.