Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Cold air is currently pouring into our region accompanied with a burst of heavy snowfall. I’ve received 2” of snow on my deck that fell in the hour and a half between 3:50pm and 5:20pm, and I still expect 6-12” in the Thursday morning report. Snowfall will moderate and become more showery in nature as the morning progresses as additional weaker pieces of energy pass over our area.
Snow may end or become very light in the afternoon and evening before another wave carrying moist air in northwest flow increases snowfall again by early Friday morning. I might expect 3-6” on the Friday morning report, and moderate to light snowfall will likely continue through Friday evening before another brief lull. However, the flow backs from the northwest to the west, and some models predict westerly winds Friday, especially in the afternoon and evening as the airmass stabilizes a bit behind the morning wave.
I’m always concerned when I see moderate to strong westerly winds as not only can they adversely affect lift operations, but they blow directly up the slopes of Steamboat’s mostly west facing terrain, creating drifting and compacting the snow.
I might expect another 4-8” on the hill by Saturday morning before yet another moist wave in northwest flow will graze the area starting Saturday evening, leaving another 2-4” for the morning report. This will keep snow going on the hill through the day Sunday and into the evening. Again, this wave may be accompanied by westerly flow, though wind speeds will be less than on Friday.
Currently forecasts have snow ending by Sunday night, but for likely less than 24 hours as another system is forecast to impact our weather on Tuesday. This one is the result of cross-polar flow bringing frigid air from Siberia across the North Pole and into western Canada where it is forecast to be pulled southward by the persistent Hudson Bay low. As in some of the previous arctic outbreaks this winter, the brunt of the cold air will slide to our west, tormenting the midwest and eventually east coast with possibly their coldest temperatures of this winter season.