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Mostly sunny and warm follows weak storm today

Sunday, March 24, 2019

A weak and becoming weaker storm currently just to our west will cross the Steamboat Springs area this afternoon. Snow on the hill and mixed rain-snow in the valley will last through the evening before skies clear on Monday and temperatures warm to well above average by midweek, along with plenty of sun. Another end-of-workweek storm will bring a round of unsettled weather that now looks to end by the following weekend.

Currently, the storm to our west is weakening as the southern end of the storm to our south advances faster than the northern end of the storm to our north. This has slowed the progression of weather into our area, with showers not beginning till the afternoon. Furthermore, the split storm will bring less snow to the hill than I originally thought, with only 1-4” expected for the Monday morning mid-mountain ski report, with most of that falling before midnight.

Clouds and possibly light showers may linger in northwest flow Monday morning as the northern end of the storm passes, but skies should clear and temperature warm during the day as a building ridge of high pressure moves over the western states.

Tuesday and Wednesday look to be the warmest days of the week as lots of sun and a warm airmass allow high temperatures in the valley to reach the mid-fifties or higher, which is at least ten degrees above our average of 45 F.

Meanwhile, a strong Pacific storm currently off the West Coast is forecast to loiter south of the Gulf of Alaska for a few days as a ridge of high pressure builds to its north. Waves of Pacific energy traveling over the ridge and down its eastern side are forecast to push some cold air from western Canada into the storm, eventually forcing it eastward.

However, there is substantial weather forecast model disagreement on how far the ridge of high pressure over the Gulf bulges eastward, and this affects the eventual track and strength of storm and how cold it will be.

Right now, it appears that most of the storm will cross the northern California coast around Wednesday, bringing heavy snowfall to the northern Sierras and most of the Cascades. The storm will move piecemeal across the Great Basin Thursday through Saturday, and we’ll see warm southwest flow increasing on Wednesday and early Thursday ahead of the storm.

Showers are advertised to start as early as Thursday afternoon as moisture and energy move over our area during the day. Though they may start as rain showers at the lower elevations, cold air associated with the storm will lower snow levels to the Yampa Valley floor overnight and into Friday. Though I expect changes in the forecasts, current guidance points toward 6-12” of snow at mid-mountain between Thursday night and Friday afternoon.

Earlier weather forecast models indicated a slow moving storm that would affect us though the following weekend, but current guidance has our snow ending by Friday night as the western part of the storm still over the Great Basin receives an influx of cold air from western Canada, forcing it southward into the Desert Southwest. If this happens, a seasonably cool and dry Saturday will be followed by a chilly Sunday morning that quickly warms under an increasingly strong springtime sun.

Stop battling cold feet! I’ve used the awesome Hotronic foot warmers from their beginnings, and can honestly say that each iteration of the product is better than the last. I have the S4 custom, attached to my powerstrap so they never fall off, and my toes stay warm for my entire ski day.

Unsettled weather through the weekend followed by another dose of spring

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Clouds have spread over the Steamboat Springs area on the first full day of spring this Thursday afternoon as a warm storm approaches. We’ll see a chance of showers producing low-elevation rain and higher-elevation snow this evening and again later Friday before there will be a downturn in precipitation chances for the first half of Saturday. A second weak storm quickly follows for Sunday with a better chance of more persistent precipitation before a ridge of high pressure builds over the western states and brings dry and seasonably warm temperatures to our area through midweek.

The warm storm currently to our southwest will travel across southern Colorado on Friday, and some energy ejecting out ahead of the storm will bring a chance of showers to our area this evening, with rain or a rain-snow mix at lower elevations and snow with minimal accumulations at the higher elevations.

The main storm passes south of our area on Friday, and showers should increase in the afternoon and early evening, possibly becoming moderate to heavy for a time. Again, a rain-snow mix is likely at the lower elevations except in the heavier showers where snow levels will lower. If we are fortunate enough to see the heavier showers pass by, we could see 1-4” of accumulations at mid-mountain which would be reported Saturday morning.

Precipitation chances should decrease around Saturday morning for a time, and increase again later in the day as temperatures rise in the seasonably cool and unstable airmass behind the departing storm.

A second weak storm trailing the first is forecast to pass over our area on Sunday around noon, and I expect better precipitation as we will see better northwest flow. Another 2-5” of snow at mid-mountain is possible during the day Sunday and into the evening, with a rain-snow mix at lower elevations. Precipitation is forecast to end by midnight as the airmass dries ahead of a building ridge of high pressure over the western states.

Any clouds early Monday should give way to plenty of sun and warming temperatures through midweek under the influence of the ridge of high pressure, with high temperatures by Wednesday forecast to be five or ten degrees above our average of 44 F.

Around Thursday, a stronger and much colder storm is forecast to begin affecting our area with another unsettled weekend advertised by the weather forecast models.

Start your ski day with toasty warm and dry boots! I use a boot dryer/warmer after every ski day, and the Happy Feet Dry-n-Warm boot dryer would be my choice if I ever had to replace my 30 year old and no-longer-manufactured look-alike. Just insert into your ski boots at the end of the day and leave them plugged in overnight. They become only slightly warmer than your body temperature so are safe to be plugged in for all footwear for days on end, though only overnight is needed for even the soggiest of liners. The ski boots are then thoroughly dry and toasty warm to start your next ski day!

Lots of sun before weather turns unsettled after midweek

Sunday, March 17, 2019

The Steamboat Springs area is seeing its second sunny day in a row this Sunday, which has been an infrequent occurrence during this active winter season. We should see a fair bit of sunshine along with seasonably cool temperatures through midweek before an approaching Pacific storm spreads first clouds and then showers over our area as soon as Thursday, with unsettled weather forecast to continue through next weekend.

A ridge of high pressure over the West Coast is responsible for our current pleasant weather, and weak and dry waves of energy traveling over or through the ridge will keep the seasonably cool temperatures around through midweek. One of these waves looks to bring some clouds to our area by Monday afternoon that may last into or possibly through Tuesday, depending on how quickly we see the dry air behind the grazing storm.

Meanwhile, a large and cold storm between Hawaii and the West Coast splits as it approaches the West Coast ridge of high pressure, with the southern section warming as it it moves slowly underneath the ridge. By Tuesday night, the storm is forecast to cross the West Coast, likely bringing our warmest day of the week on Wednesday in weak southwest flow ahead of the storm.

The storm is forecast to lumber across the Great Basin around Thursday and Friday, and first clouds around Wednesday night and then showers by Thursday are expected as bits of energy and moisture are ejected out ahead of the storm.

Weather forecast models disagree on details regarding the track and speed of the storm, but seasonably warm weather with a chance of rain showers at the lower elevations and snow showers at the higher elevations are most likely on Thursday and perhaps Friday as well.

Another Pacific storm follows quickly on the path of the first, crossing the West Coast later Friday before traveling across the Great Basin on Saturday. There may be a downturn in the showery weather on Saturday, but the weather should turn more active again on Sunday and lasting into Monday as we see some favorable moist and unstable northwest flow as the storm passes. However, cold air is absent from this storm, as was the case with the first, so best accumulations will likely be at the higher elevations.

There may be a brief break in the unsettled weather after the weekend by later Monday into some of Tuesday before a colder Pacific storm looks to start precipitation up again around midweek.

Save your soles! You suspect that 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.

A rare quiet weather week ahead

Thursday, March 14, 2019

After the Steamboat Ski Area reported 8” at mid-mountain and 17” up top on the Thursday morning ski report, with most of that occurring during the day yesterday, cold air behind Colorado’s near-record storm has kept high temperatures almost 15 F below our normal of 41 F in Steamboat Springs this afternoon. That will change starting on Friday as a ridge of high pressure builds over the West and brings lots of sun and warmer temperatures closer to average to the Steamboat Springs area for most of the following week.

But first, a trailing wave of energy will bring another surge of cold air in tonight, leading to a chilly start to Friday morning with low temperatures also around 15 F below our average low of 17 F. The sun will return, though, warming temperatures from Thursday but still staying below our average.

Saturday will start cold again, though not quite as cold as Friday morning, with temperatures warming near average.

Hard-to-time weak waves of energy and moisture moving either over the top, through, or under the building ridge of high pressure over the West will bring periods of clouds over the following week. The best moisture and even a chance of showers is possible for our area on Tuesday, though there is disagreement between the weather forecast models as to whether that will happen.

Meanwhile, a strong storm forms in the still-active Pacific jet stream and forces the western ridge of high pressure eastward, likely bringing our warmest temperatures of the week on Wednesday as the ridge passes over the Continental Divide. This storm is currently forecast to cross the West Coast on Wednesday and begin making its way across the Great Basin on Thursday. Significant moisture is once again forecast with this relatively warm storm, and our area should see increasing clouds in southwest flow early on Thursday followed by showers later in the day.

Precipitation is expected to last into Friday with this storm and may continue into the weekend as weather forecast models advertise a quickly-following second Pacific storm moving across our region.

I absolutely love this super-warm split-finger mitten-glove! I’m on my second season with these and am very impressed with their durability and warmth, especially when combined with the standard HotHands handwamers. Three fingers sit together with the index finger separated, but there is enough room to scrunch all your fingers together while on the lift, which is especially nice if you have a handwarmer in the mitten-part of the glove.

Unsettled weather ahead of strong Wednesday storm

Sunday, March 10, 2019

After another three inches of snow fell overnight at the Steamboat Ski Area and brought the season-accumulated snowfall at mid-mountain to 303” so far, snow showers will redevelop this Sunday afternoon, as well as Monday, before Tuesday looks precipitation free. A strong and cold storm from the Pacific Northwest will bring significant snows to the Steamboat Springs area on Wednesday that will extend into Thursday before warming and drying is advertised to start on Friday and extend into next weekend.

The light snow currently falling in the Steamboat Springs area is the result of our area being between a large developing storm off the coast of southern California and a quick-moving storm over the Great Lakes. Snow showers will continue this Sunday afternoon before leaving another inch or two and ending soon after sunset as the California storm begins its eastward trek across the Desert Southwest, thanks to a strong and cold storm moving southeastward across the Gulf of Alaska.

As the Desert Southwest storm moves south of our area, another round of minimally accumulating snow showers will be possible Monday afternoon as some energy ejects out of the storm and moves over our area, with likely heavy snows starting in southern Colorado and New Mexico.

Tuesday is now looking precipitation-free as northern Colorado will be between the Desert Southwest storm and the rapidly approaching Pacific Northwest storm, with some dry air near our area allowing for some sunshine.

By Wednesday morning, we should see the return of snow showers behind the Desert Southwest storm and ahead of the Pacific Northwest storm, with showers becoming moderate to heavy by later in the day as a strong cold front barrels across the region.

Snows should continue overnight and into Thursday as the two storm mix just east of the Continental Divide and form a single strong storm that is forecast to move across the Midwest, bringing winter weather to that region and eventually a line of severe storms across the rest of the country.

Though the rapidly developing storm may throw some forecast curveballs, much colder weather with continued snow showers are expected for Thursday in the moist and unstable northwest flow behind the cold front. Snows are forecast to eventually end around Thursday night behind a trailing wave that brings even colder air to our region.

At this point, I would guess 5-10” of snow at mid-mountain for the Thursday morning report, with some Steamboat Magic likely on Thursday extending past noon and leaving another 2-5” that would be reported on the Friday morning report.

A ridge of high pressure builds inland near the end of the work week, and after a chilly Friday morning with lows likely well below our average of 15 F, the sun is forecast to return with temperatures quickly moderating under the increasingly strong March sun.

There are some weak and relatively dry waves of energy that move through the ridge of high pressure early and late in the weekend, but only some clouds are expected to periodically interrupt what is forecast to be our first spring-feeling weekend of this long winter season.

Stop battling cold feet! I’ve used the awesome Hotronic foot warmers from their beginnings, and can honestly say that each iteration of the product is better than the last. I have the S4 custom, attached to my powerstrap so they never fall off, and my toes stay warm for my entire ski day.

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