Thursday, January 28, 2016
The current sunny conditions will end by tomorrow as a quick moving wave skirts our northern border Friday, creating some light snow at the Steamboat ski area with perhaps several inches of accumulating snow during Friday.
Following closely is a wet and relatively warm Pacific jet stream that will begin precipitation Friday night. Because temperatures are forecast to warm through noon or afternoon Saturday, there may be rain in the valleys before the cool air associated with this storm sags south over northern Colorado by later Saturday. There is disagreement in the models about how much warming occurs during the day Saturday, and this will affect how much snow we see during the day, with 2-5” of relatively dense snow likely.
Cooler air Saturday night will lead to moderate and sometimes heavy snow overnight, leaving 6-12” of snow for the Sunday morning ski report.
Snow looks to taper off during the day Sunday as brief and shallow ridging moves over the area ahead of a large, complex and potentially dangerous storm crossing the West Coast on Sunday. This storm will intensify as it crosses the Great Basin as very cold air from the Canadian Plains mixes with the relatively warm and wet overrunning Pacific jet stream.
The dynamic nature of this storm makes forecasting difficult, but current models bring light snow over our area by early Monday morning before turning moderate to heavy by later Monday. As the storm moves somewhere along the southern Colorado border on Monday, moderate to heavy snows may continue for our area as a TROWAL is indicated to form and persist overnight. Additionally, very cold air will move southward along the west side of the storm as it moves east of our area, possibly creating a huge powder day for Tuesday.
Additional waves of energy and cold air move over the area in northwest flow later Tuesday and Wednesday, keeping snows going through possibly Thursday morning.