Beautiful start to Memorial Day weekend turns unsettled by Sunday

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Gorgeous weather with temperatures in the low seventies and bluebird skies are over the Steamboat Springs area this Thursday afternoon. We’ll start the long Memorial Day weekend with similarly pleasant weather, though the winds increase and skies cloud over on Saturday ahead of several weather disturbances that will bring unsettled weather back to our area from Sunday through Memorial Day and possibly into Tuesday.

Currently, a ridge of high pressure over the West has built ahead of a developing storm in the Gulf of Alaska, bringing the beautiful late spring weather overhead with temperatures running about five degrees above our average of 67 F. Friday will be similar with slightly warmer temperatures and breezier, though there may be some afternoon clouds and a stray shower as some energy ejects out ahead of that Gulf of Alaska storm.

By Saturday, the Gulf of Alaska storm will evolve in a complex fashion as incoming Pacific subtropical moisture and energy mix with cold air from the northern latitudes. Several centers of circulation are forecast to form within the storm while it lumbers east, crossing the Pacific Northwest coast tonight and taking up residence in the Great Basin through the entirety of the long Memorial Day weekend.

Winds will substantially increase to be from the southwest ahead of the storm on Saturday, with warm temperatures persisting and clouds increasing through the day, knocking a few degrees off the high temperatures from Friday.

A weak cool front may pass through as early as Saturday night, though some weather forecast models keep that to our west until Sunday when a strong cold front passes through. High temperatures look to drop around twenty degrees from Saturday into the fifties, along with rain and rain showers and afternoon and evening thunderstorms. Snow levels will fall from 10,000′ Saturday night to 8,000′ by Memorial Day morning, so those camping in the high country should be prepared for the summerlike conditions that start the weekend to turn winterlike on Sunday.

It looks like the bulk of the precipitation should occur Sunday and Sunday night, though expect a cool and showery Memorial Day with high temperatures struggling to reach fifty degrees. Weather forecast models agree that a large part of the storm will still be to our west on Monday night, leading to at least another cool and showery day on Tuesday as what is left of the storm moves nearby or possibly overhead, though disagree on the amount of precipitation.

So enjoy the gorgeous start to the Memorial Day weekend, and know that the region will experience beneficial precipitation for the seventh weekend out of eight since Closing Weekend at the Steamboat Ski Resort. I’ll be back Sunday afternoon with a more detailed look at the weather for Memorial Day, the possibility of more precipitation on Tuesday and what looks like a warming and drying trend starting midweek.

Nice weather returns midweek

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Temperatures are currently in the upper fifties under a mix of clouds and sun in Steamboat Springs this Sunday mid-afternoon. While we look to remain dry for the rest of today, two more weather disturbances for tonight and Tuesday morning will keep the cool weather and chances for light precipitation around to start the work week. But the unsettled weather looks to clear by Wednesday as temperatures reach the sixties under mostly sunny skies with seventies forecast to close out the work week.

Drifting snow from the 30 mph ENE gusts between 9 pm Friday 20 May 2022 and 4 am Saturday 21 May 2022 on the Steamboat PowdercamThe past wintry storm produced between six and seven tenths of an inch of liquid water over our area, with about six inches of snow falling on my deck by 7 am last Friday morning and another 3” by noon. About a foot of snow fell at mid-mountain and above, with snow at all elevations showing considerable settling during the day. Winds turned to be from the northwest during Friday to the east-northeast overnight, and the time-lapse movie of the Steamboat Powdercam at the top of Sunshine Peak shows impressive snow dune formation and propagation between 9:40 pm Friday night and 4 am Saturday morning, as sustained winds of 15-25 mph and gusts to 30 mph transported the freshly fallen snow.

Currently, clouds are increasing ahead of a disturbance crossing the Great Basin. While we will likely stay dry through this evening, showers should begin ahead of the cold front at the higher elevations around midnight with snowflakes possible down to the Yampa Valley floor when the cold front passes early Monday morning.

Though showers will decrease after the front, they may reappear in the afternoon in the favorable cool, moist and unstable northwest flow. But high temperatures will only reach the low-fifties, which is almost fifteen degrees below our average of 66 F, which may limit the strength and duration of any showers.

The second cool front from a storm currently in the Pacific Northwest will pass through early Tuesday with initially little shower potential. But with temperatures eventually rising about five degrees above Monday, there may be enough surface heating for some afternoon showers.

This stretch of unsettled weather breaks by Wednesday as a ridge of high pressure moves over the West. Look for lots of sun and temperatures reaching the sixties, with seventies expected on Thursday. Early indications are that the nice weather will stick around to close the work week as we head into the long Memorial Day weekend, though unsettled weather may return for part of the weekend. So check back Thursday afternoon for my next regularly scheduled weather narrative when I’ll have more details about the weather for the holiday weekend that unofficially marks the start of summer.

Wintry weather arrives tonight

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Temperatures are in the low seventies under partly sunny skies and winds are ripping out of the southwest this Thursday mid-afternoon in Steamboat Springs ahead of a very strong cold front timed for tonight. We’ll wake up to snow on Friday morning and see afternoon high temperatures over thirty degrees below today! And with more snow into Saturday and continued cold temperatures, this weekend will feel more wintry than summery.

A storm that had been developing this week in the Gulf of Alaska has been pushed eastward by a building ridge of high pressure that has taken its place, and is currently moving across the Pacific Northwest. Cold air has been pouring into the storm from both western and central Canada, leading to the current very windy conditions as air is accelerated between the very cold airmass to our northwest and the very warm airmass to our southeast.

A strong cold front is forecast to pass through our area tonight, with the leading edge of cold air arriving this evening. A number of disturbances will reinforce the storm through the weekend and the beginning of the work week, so don’t expect a quick recovery back to our current summery weather.

While the Front Range, and more so the foothills, will see the brunt of the snowfall, we should wake up to some snow on the non-paved surfaces down in town Friday morning, with snowfall tapering off later in the morning and afternoon before picking up again Friday night. And expect unseasonably cold temperatures through the weekend, most pronounced on Friday as temperatures struggle to get much above 40 F, which is 25 F below our average of 65 F.

The cold unsettled weather will stick around on Saturday, and though we may see showers, especially in the afternoon, the bulk of the accumulating precipitation should be over by Saturday evening. We could see 2-5” of accumulated snowfall in town and 5-10” at the top of the Steamboat Ski Resort, which can be examined through the Steamboat Powdercam and Steamboat mid-mountain Powedercam. If skies clear or even partially clear Saturday night, look for low temperatures five to ten degrees below our average of 34 F.

Temperatures should recover into the fifties on Sunday, though the unsettled weather looks to stick around through the beginning of the work week as another two disturbances are forecast to rotate through the area of low pressure over the West. Weather forecast models disagree on the timing and amplitude of these additional disturbances, but showery weather currently looks possible from Sunday afternoon through Tuesday, albeit with slowly warming temperatures. Lot’s of weather to get through before then , so stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon where I’ll have more details on next week’s weather.

Unsettled weather on Tuesday and Wednesday ahead of cold front later Thursday

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-sixties are over the Steamboat Springs area early this delightful Sunday afternoon. A couple of weather disturbances will bring increasing clouds on Monday and a chance of showers on Tuesday and possibly Wednesday as temperatures stay warm. While Thursday will start beautifully, it looks to end with a strong cold front that may bring snowflakes back to our area starting that night.

Currently, a strong storm is in the Gulf of Alaska while another weaker storm is located further southwest along the Dateline. A ridge of high pressure has build over the West ahead of the Gulf of Alaska storm and has brought the absolutely gorgeous late spring weather overhead this weekend. Look for temperatures to be around five to ten degrees above our average of 64 F, with thankfully a break in the windy weather of late.

The mostly clear skies should stick around tonight for a great show of the super flower blood moon total lunar eclipse, with totality centered around 10:11 pm. That’s a lot of adjectives; super relates to the apparent larger size of the moon at its closest point to earth, flower is one of the names given to May’s full moon and blood reflects the moon’s reddish hue when viewed within the shadow of the earth.

While Monday may see even warmer temperatures than today, we should see increasing clouds as a weather disturbance passes to our south. Another disturbance follows on Tuesday with slightly cooler temperatures and a good chance of showers in the afternoon and evening. Still a third disturbance is forecast for Wednesday, though afternoon and evening showers look less likely than on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the Gulf of Alaska storm is forecast to undergo a complex evolution early in the work week before the Dateline storm forces that storm inland around Wednesday. There is considerable weather forecast uncertainty with regards to precipitation, though a strong cold front arriving later Thursday preceded by and accompanied with very gusty winds from the west looks likely. If the front can hold off until the evening, we’ll see another warm day with high temperatures around seventy, though temperatures will plummet as the front arrives.

The American model forecasts snow down the the Yampa Valley floor by Friday morning, though the European model has become increasingly less optimistic about that possibility. I expect changes to the forecast through the week, but the details should be clearer by my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon.

Pleasant weekend with decreasing winds ahead

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Temperatures are around fifty degrees under mostly cloudy skies with continuing gusty winds in the Steamboat Springs area late this Thursday afternoon. But the winds will gradually decrease and temperatures will rise each day through the weekend, making Sunday the nicest day with temperatures around seventy degrees under sunny skies and relatively calm winds.

A dry cold front barreled through our region last night, dropping the afternoon high temperatures today more than twenty degrees from our over seventy degree Wednesday. The mostly cloudy skies today will switch to be mostly sunny on Friday as temperatures warm about ten degrees towards our average high of 63 F behind the departing cold front.

Several weather disturbances will graze our area through Saturday, but they have all weakened and moved further north since my forecast from last Sunday, so no precipitation is expected. Fortunately though, their further north trajectories also mean gradually decreasing winds on Friday and Saturday, along with increasing temperatures as a ridge of high pressure moves through the West this weekend. This does not mean no wind, though, so expect afternoon breezes on both Friday and Saturday, with temperatures on Saturday rising about five degrees into the mid sixties, along with some increasing cloudiness through the afternoon and evening.

Sunday looks to be the warmest day of the weekend with temperatures rising another five degrees toward 70 F under sunny skies, with thankfully very little wind. More of the same is expected to start the work week as the ridge of high pressure moves overhead.

A couple of weather disturbances may bring some unsettled weather to our area around Tuesday and Wednesday of next week, though these are currently looking warm and modest at best. So enjoy the beautiful weekend, and check back Sunday afternoon for my next regularly scheduled weather narrative where I’ll discuss the precipitation potential for next week.

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30 April 2022

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