Beautiful weekend will turn stormy on Monday

Friday, November 13, 2015

A major storm will impact our area starting Monday after a beautiful weekend. Currently, dry air has settled over Colorado leaving the Steamboat Springs area under mostly sunny skies that will persist through most of the weekend. Temperatures will warm at the higher elevations while the valley may stay cool as the current temperature inversion persists, with high clouds invading the area later Sunday in advance of the next storm.

This storm is forecast to cross the West Coast early Sunday. Numerical models have the storm undergoing a split as it moves eastward across the Great Basin, with the dominant southern portion of the storm impacting the entire state of Colorado Monday through around midweek.

Usually, confidence in the model solutions grows stronger as an event nears, however model solutions for the Monday storm are still changing, leading to a low confidence forecast after precipitation likely starts early in the day on Monday. Uncertainty revolves around how much energy is drawn into the southern part of the split and the amount of intensification the storm is expected to undergo as it crosses the Rockies.

The American GFS has trended slower and stronger with the storm, now keeping significant snows over Colorado through Wednesday, while the European ECMWF has trended back towards the originally faster solution, moving the storm east of our area on Wednesday. Interestingly, the Steamboat Springs area may continue to receive snows in this case in the cool and moist northwest flow behind the more rapidly departing storm.

Storm amounts are tough to forecast, but it is likely we will receive 6-12” of snow on the hill and maybe half that in the valley by Tuesday morning as both models agree upon the storm motion until it crosses the Rockies. At the very least, I would expect unsettled weather with varying amounts of snow on Tuesday and Wednesday, with the possibility of heavy snows during each of those days.

Any breaks in the weather after this storm passes will likely occur around Thursday and early Friday before another Pacific wave is forecast to cross the West Coast on Thursday. This looks be a fast-moving and splitting storm, and is currently forecast to bring a cool front with light snow through the Steamboat Springs area late on Friday or early in the weekend.

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