Cooler temperatures for the weekend

Thursday, August 16, 2018

The Steamboat Springs area will see continued hot temperatures for this Thursday and Friday before an incoming Pacific storm knocks afternoon temperatures back toward or even below our 81 F average high for this time of year in time for the weekend.

Currently, some moisture has been drawn northward underneath the ridge of high pressure over the western U.S. that is responsible for our hot temperatures, though the moisture is forecast to stay largely south of our area today. By Friday, we will see some of that moisture move near or over north central Colorado, and that will lead to a better chance of some clouds and a slight chance of some weak and gusty afternoon storms that may produce brief, locally heavy rainfall.

Meanwhile, the incoming Pacific storm is forecast to cross the West Coast on Friday and bring a cool front through our area sometime around Saturday morning. As currently predicted by weather forecast models, we should see our best chance of showers early in the day as the cool front passes, with a break early in the afternoon as drier air infiltrates behind the front.

But several reinforcing surges of cool air in northwest flow on the backside of the storm may get showers going again later Saturday and again Sunday afternoon before skies clear overnight, leading to relatively cool Sunday and Monday mornings.

After a pleasantly cool Monday with temperatures slightly below average, a final surge of cool air will keep cool temperatures around early Tuesday before they soar to above average by Tuesday afternoon as the western ridge of high pressure rebuilds behind the departing storm.

Another Pacific storm will be deflected northward by this ridge early in the work week, though not before moving it eastward enough so we may see some increasing monsoonal moisture by midweek. This would lead to an increasing chance of showers for around Wednesday and Thursday before the atmosphere dries again during the end of the work week. After that, weather forecast models disagree on the strength and southern extent of another cool front timed for around the following weekend.

Possibility of showers this week

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Shower chances increase starting around Monday night as the Steamboat Springs area will see weather associated with both a storm currently spinning to our southeast and incoming Pacific energy.

The meteorologically interesting storm to our southeast has kept light northeasterly flow over northern Colorado this weekend, and as this storm moves to the northeast starting Monday, the flow aloft will turn to the northwest as a weak cool front associated with a Pacific storm traveling along the Canadian border is dragged across our area late Monday night or early Tuesday morning. Until then expect continued hot temperatures with only the slightest chance of a weak late-day storm for the rest of this Sunday and Monday.

We should see temperatures tick down a bit for Tuesday and Wednesday behind the weak front, but more significantly, we will see some increasing moisture and the possibility of some showers starting overnight Monday, with some of them producing brief, locally heavy rainfall for those areas lucky enough to be under the stronger thunderstorm cells.

The heat will return for the end of the work week as a ridge of high pressure temporarily builds behind the departing storm to our north, though there will be some moisture that may produce some afternoon clouds and the small chance of some showers.

The weekend is looking interesting, though more uncertain, as some left over energy off the West Coast from the early week storm looks to eventually mix with some cool western Canadian air. And yes, this could produce our first fall-like cool front with temperatures below average by the end of next weekend or the beginning of the next work week, but there is weather forecast model disagreement as to the extent and timing of the cool air surge.

Right now, the American GFS has shower chances increasing for northern Colorado early in the weekend as the weak Pacific storm approaches. A relatively strong surge of cool air from the north is forecast to then reinforce the storm as it moves over our area late in the weekend, and this should bring increasing shower chances and below average temperatures by the start of the following work week.

Increased chances for showers after a hot and dry weekend

Thursday, August 9, 2018

A ridge of high pressure currently over the western U.S. will bring hot days and cool nights to the Steamboat Springs area through this weekend before shower chances increase around Tuesday ahead of a large, but weakening, eastward moving Gulf of Alaska storm.

The storm is forecast to make landfall in the Pacific Northwest early this weekend, and it will flatten and push the ridge of high pressure eastward as the storm moves along the southern Canadian border. But this is a battle of the air masses that summer will win as the jet stream will stay north of our area for the foreseeable future.

Meteorologically interesting, but unlikely to have much effect on our weather except for possibly some slight cooling on Monday and Tuesday, some energy peeling away from southward moving air that was originally spinning around a large storm in Hudson Bay will form an eddy that will meander around the Texas panhandle and southeastern Colorado through part of next week. Normally, we would expect to see some monsoonal moisture drawn northward along the west side of the flattened ridge of high pressure to our east, but instead light northerly flow on the west side of the eddy will keep moisture and showers at bay through Monday when the forecast finally has the eddy moving eastward.

At that time, southerly flow around the ridge of high pressure to our east will penetrate into northern Colorado, bringing our best chance of showers on Tuesday and Wednesday. The flattened ridge of high pressure is forecast to move westward through the work week and then rebuild over the West Coast around the following weekend. We should see a much reduced chance of showers for Thursday and Friday as remaining moisture under the ridge is heated by the strong summertime sun.

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Return to hot and dry for the week ahead

Sunday, August 5, 2018

After a welcome second morning of rain showers in three days, the Steamboat Springs area will be returning to hot and dry weather this upcoming week. The ridge of high pressure that was flattened and pushed eastward by a grazing Pacific storm to our north this past weekend will rebuild over the West Coast as southerly flow ahead of a strong fall-like in the Gulf of Alaska storm draws hot air northward.

Currently, even though dry air is moving in behind the grazing storm, lingering moisture and energy will continue the threat of afternoon storms this Sunday, with perhaps some breezy conditions. This looks to be the end of our precipitation chances until next weekend, or after, as the building West Coast ridge keeps dry air firmly entrenched over western Colorado.

Monday will be the coolest day of the week with temperatures approaching our 82 F average as some cooler air is left behind the departing storm to our north, but hot temperatures will return by Tuesday and last into the weekend. Luckily, the dry air will allow overnight low temperatures to drop toward or even below our 46 F average, which means we will see daily swings between lows and highs approaching 40 F or more!

The fall-like Gulf of Alaska storm will be reinforced by some cool air traveling southward across Alaska near the end of the work week, and weather forecast models disagree on the evolution of the storm through next weekend. This affects our weather since the eastward moving storm will be responsible for again flattening the ridge of high pressure over the West Coast and moving it eastward, and it is not clear if that will happen by the end of next weekend or during the next work week. When the ridge eventually moves eastward, we will likely see moisture increase again in the southerly flow along the western periphery of the ridge which would bring the possibility of showers back to our area.

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Showers on Friday followed by weekend wind

Thursday, August 2, 2018

The best chance for showers in Steamboat Springs this week will occur on Friday ahead of some breezy conditions for the weekend that should at least temporarily clear the smoke blanketing the Yampa Valley from the Silver Creek fire to our south.

The last forecast from Sunday afternoon is in good shape as a Pacific storm currently crossing the West Coast near Vancouver pushes the dominant ridge of high pressure over the southwest eastward. Some energy and moisture rotating northward along the western periphery of the ridge will cross northern Colorado during the first half of Friday, and we may see a gusty shower ahead of the main push later this afternoon. But the best chance for showers looks to be between midnight tonight and noon Friday as the wave passes over northern Colorado, with some smoke dispersal possible. There will also be a chance for afternoon showers that linger into the evening as residual moisture is heated by the strong summer sun.

By Saturday, the Vancouver storm will be moving east, but winds will increase from the west as the storm nears, which should clear the smoke from the area if it wasn’t dispersed on Friday. Some energy associated with the storm will graze our area in the afternoon and possibly overnight which should lead to another chance of afternoon and evening showers.

Drier air works in behind the grazing storm for Sunday with still breezy conditions, though an afternoon shower cannot be ruled out.

For the following week, the ridge of high pressure will move back westward toward the Desert Southwest once again as the first large storm of the next season brews in the Gulf of Alaska. The southerly flow ahead of this storm will encourage the persistent southwestern ridge to amplify and expand northward heading into next weekend.

Longer range models have the Gulf of Alaska storm moving first south early in the work week and then east, and this will again force the southwestern ridge of high pressure eastward as well. Like the current scenario, we will see moisture increasing as this occurs with another chance of monsoonal showers looking possible after next weekend.

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