Unsettled weather ahead of our next storm starts Thursday

Sunday, March 11, 2018

A ridge of high pressure has built over the western states, bringing a beautiful warm and sunny Sunday to the Steamboat Springs area. A weak and splitting storm moving through this ridge will weaken further by Monday as it passes through our area, and we may see some clouds during the day, with a small chance of non-accumulating snow showers by Monday afternoon.

Meanwhile, a large and impressive storm approaches the West Coast early in the work week. The ridge of high pressure over the western states first strengthens on Tuesday and part of Wednesday ahead of the storm, bringing warmer temperatures and mostly sunny skies.

But as early as Wednesday afternoon, and certainly by Thursday, the Ides of March, energy and moisture ejecting out of the West Coast storm will bring clouds and showers to our area. The amount of ejecting energy and its southern extent will likely determine the snow levels, but low-elevation rain showers are currently a possibility.

Weather forecast models have struggled mightily with the evolution of the West Coat storm, and forecast confidence has not increased over the last few days, as model differences persist. Right now, a break in the weather is advertised between the ejecting energy on Thursday and the main storm, which is now forecast to cross the Great Basin around Saturday and arrive in our area around Sunday.

I hope to have better clarity by my upcoming Thursday post, but at this point, Friday may see some clouds and even an isolated shower as the ejecting energy departs the area. We may see some drying and warming for Saturday ahead of the main storm, though there will still likely be some clouds ahead of the main event advertised for the end of the weekend.

It is too soon to talk about the details of the Sunday storm, other than it may slow down and it will likely be significant. For what it’s worth, further storms are forecast to be lined up in the Pacific for more snow chances following the late-weekend storm.

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