Shower chances persist this work week
Sunday, June 4, 2023
Mostly cloudy skies and cool temperatures in the mid-sixties are over the town of Steamboat Springs on this Sunday mid-afternoon. The chance of afternoon and evening showers looks to persist through Thursday, with the best chance on Wednesday, as temperatures warm toward seventy degrees ahead of another storm system approaching our area. There may be several degrees of cooling on Thursday, but likely drying for the end of the work week.
A ridge of high pressure anchored over the central U.S. and extending toward the Arctic Circle is flanked by low pressure areas over the Great Basin and the Gulf of Maine. The ridge of high pressure is holding firm thanks to the building heat of summer and is slowly deflecting any storm systems moving eastward from the Pacific to our north. The end result is a relatively stagnant pattern that has been drawing moisture from the Gulf of Mexico over our area in the counterclockwise flow around the low pressure area.
Another incoming low pressure area is forecast to cross Baja tomorrow, and force the current low pressure area in the Great Basin northward as it slowly moves into Arizona through midweek. The southeast winds ahead of the new low pressure area will continue to move moisture from the Gulf of Mexico over our area for a continued chance of afternoon and evening thunderstorms. But because the center of the low pressure will be to out west, we should see some partly sunny starts to the day and high temperatures closer to our average of 72 F.
By Thursday, the low pressure area is forecast to move northward into Nevada thanks to a storm currently near the Aleutian Islands that will elongate to the south as it moves east into the Gulf of Alaska. Drier air wrapping around the now-in-Nevada low pressure area from the southwest will move toward our area, but weather forecast models disagree on how much of that drier air moves overhead by Thursday, and possibly heading into the weekend.
But with morning sun comes a better chance of stronger afternoon and evening storms as rising temperatures cook the atmosphere. The storms will likely become more scattered, but that won’t make a difference if you happen to be under a passing storm cell later in the day.
I’ll be back a bit earlier on Thursday morning, as I have more travel in my future, with a look at what is currently looking like a drier weekend forecast.
Soggy start to the weekend
Thursday, June 1, 2023
Showers are moving over the Steamboat Springs area late this Thursday afternoon with temperatures only in the mid-fifties. Not much change is forecast for Friday, with slightly warmer but still cool temperatures and continued unsettled weather on tap for the rest of the weekend, and likely beyond.
A broad trough of low pressure is currently over the West with high pressure over the Great Lakes. No less than four circulation centers are currently embedded within the trough, and their eastward progress will be blocked by the building ridge of high pressure over the Great Lakes. They will instead be forced generally northward along the spine of the Rockies and back west toward the Great Basin and interact with each other in a complex and difficult to forecast dance.
In addition to the forcing from these circulation centers, moisture from the Gulf of Mexico has been drawn over our area by southerly flow behind the ridge of high pressure yielding a favorable environment for showers that may persist through the weekend. In fact, the ridge of high pressure is forecast to build toward the Arctic Circle through the weekend, creating a stagnant pattern that means unsettled weather continuing into the next work week.
Tomorrow will likely be the coldest day of the week with high temperatures only in the fifties, fifteen degrees or so below our average of 71 F. We may wake up to rain showers along with snowflakes near the top of the Steamboat Ski Resort. But there will be some recovery on Saturday with high temperatures in the lower sixties and upper sixties by Sunday.
While Friday will almost certainly be wet, there is less certainty for Saturday and Sunday as some drier air behind the passing disturbances may move near or over our area. That will be dependent upon how far west the ridge of high pressure bulges through the weekend, with a further westward movement keeping the drier, but not dry, air to our west. Showers will take a downturn if that drier air moves overhead.
It will take until early next week for these disturbances to clear the area, but another one is currently forecast to be behind it for continued unsettled weather lasting through midweek at least. I’ll have more details about this approaching system in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon.
Unsettled weather returns starting midweek
Sunday, May 28, 2023
After a sunny Sunday morning with temperatures reaching the upper sixties early this afternoon, temperatures have dropped into the low sixties as clouds, cooler air and gusty winds due to evaporating precipitation from surrounding showers moved through. Temperatures are forecast to warm into the low seventies on Memorial Day and approach the mid-seventies on Tuesday as shower chances decrease. But an approaching storm by midweek decreases temperatures and increases shower chances, with the unsettled weather likely to hang around through the weekend.
The eddy I discussed last Thursday is currently just off the northern California coast, and is forecast to move southward toward Baja before turning east by later Tuesday and approaching the Four Corners region around midweek.
Until the eddy is in our vicinity, dry air from the Desert Southwest will continue to be carried over our area in winds from the southwest, with decreasing chances for storms on Memorial Day, and likely Tuesday as well. Temperatures will also rise from the low seventies on Monday toward the mid seventies on Tuesday, slightly above our average of 70 F. Like the last few days, there will be some chances for afternoon and evening thunderstorms which will likely produce more wind than rain thanks to precipitation evaporating in the dry lower levels of the atmosphere before it reaches the ground.
Weather forecast models agree that the eddy and its associated moisture eventually reach our area, though disagree whether it happens on Wednesday, like the American models suggest, or on Thursday like forecast by the European ECMWF. Showers will become more numerous with wetting rains likely, especially to close out the work week.
The unsettled weather is likely to persist into next weekend as a wave of subtropical moisture currently approaching the Dateline follows behind the departing eddy. Have a great Memorial Day, and I’ll be back with my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon to discuss the weekend weather.
Pleasant Memorial Day weekend with modest shower chances
Thursday, May 25, 2023
Partly sunny skies with comfortable temperatures in the low seventies are over the Steamboat Springs area early this Thursday afternoon. The pleasant weather with high temperatures in the low seventies is forecast to continue through the long Memorial Day weekend with modest chances for afternoon and evening storms that should not disrupt outdoor plans too much.
A trough of low pressure is currently located over the West Coast states while a ridge of high pressure is centered over Minnesota. The Nevada eddy I talked about in the Sunday weather narrative looks to barely form within the southern portion of the low pressure area before more incoming Pacific energy moves the trough of low pressure to the northeast on Saturday and Sunday.
Generally dry air from the Desert Southwest is and will continue to be carried over our area in breezy winds from the southwest, with perhaps a degree or two of cooling as what is left of the eddy grazes our area Saturday afternoon. While the lower levels of the atmosphere will be dry, there is enough moisture aloft for afternoon and evening storm chances from today through Memorial Day, though they may produce more wind than rain as much of the precipitation will likely evaporate before reaching the ground.
Meanwhile, that incoming Pacific energy is forecast to cut off from the jet stream and itself form an eddy, moving slowly southward from the Oregon coast on Saturday to the southern California coast by the Tuesday after Memorial Day.
Longer term weather forecast models have moisture over our area increasing by midweek as the southern California eddy eventually moves across Arizona and into the Great Basin, though exactly how that happens is not yet clear.
I plan to be traveling on Sunday, so my regular weather narrative on Sunday afternoon may be pushed back to Memorial Day. Those readers who have not yet signed up to have these forecast discussions emailed for free can do so here. Otherwise, enjoy what looks to be a very nice Memorial Day weekend and I will be back on Sunday or Monday.
Afternoon shower chances increase to start the week
Sunday, May 21, 2023
A gorgeous spring Sunday is over the Steamboat Springs area with temperatures just above seventy degrees and mostly sunny skies as of mid-afternoon. While temperatures will be similar through midweek, afternoon and evening shower chances increase as moisture from the southwest overruns our area. But shower chances decrease and temperatures nudge upward to end the work week.
A ridge of high pressure is currently centered over the Rocky Mountains while an area of low pressure approaches the Pacific Northwest coast. Clockwise circulation around a high pressure cell in southeast Wyoming has brought winds from the north and northeast over our area, and evidently has carried some smoke from wildfires in western Canada overhead the last few days.
With smoke already affecting our area, I have placed the air quality widget back on the SnowAlarm home page and removed the avalanche map, and have also added the smoke forecasts back to the SnowAlarm website.
The Pacific Northwest low pressure area is forecast to move inland on Monday and split, with the southern part moving southward along the West Coast through midweek before eventually forming some sort of eddy over central California by the end of the work week.
So what can we make of this complicated pattern? Our winds will turn to be from the west on Monday as the Pacific Northwest storm moves inland, and this displaces the high pressure cell to our north and another one currently located in Nevada to the east, and introduces some Pacific moisture. While temperatures won’t change much and mornings will remain mostly sunny, chances for afternoon and evening storms increase.
By Tuesday and Wednesday, moisture increases further for good shower chances after noon and extending through the evening.
The eddy is forecast to move east and eventually loiter over Nevada by the end of the work week. On Thursday, much drier air from the Desert Southwest is forecast to be carried by winds from the southwest ahead of the eddy over our area, substantially reducing the chance of late day showers as we head into the long Memorial Day weekend.
The weather next weekend will be dependent upon the evolution of the Nevada eddy, with the European ECMWF moving the eddy very little or even to the north, leading to a dry weekend, and the American GFS more aggressive in moving the eddy eastward, leading to a wetter late-weekend forecast. So be sure to check back to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon to see how that eddy is evolving and what weather we may expect for the long Memorial Day weekend.