Friday, November 18, 2016
Dry air has invaded the Steamboat Springs area behind the storm that left 13” at the summit. Fresh snow cover and clear skies tonight will make Saturday morning the coldest of the season so far.
Temperatures in the mountains will warm the fastest on a mostly sunny Saturday as a large transient ridge builds over the West, with valleys a bit slower to warm as temperature inversions start to develop.
The ridge looks to persist through at least the rest of the weekend keeping the beautiful weather around until Monday when an incoming Pacific energy weakly splits as it crosses the West Coast. The dominant southern part of the storm draws subtropical moisture over the Great Basin in warm southwest flow and introduces the chance of showers on Monday.
Though the showers will start out warm, with rain possible in the valley, cooler air filters in by sunset Monday courtesy of the northern portion of the storm and will likely turn the rain to snow. Fortuitously, it appears that most of the precipitation will occur after sunset Monday, keeping the bulk of the storm as snow.
Current forecasts have bands of the heaviest precipitation overnight Monday into Tuesday morning before the snow turns more showery during the day Tuesday in the cool, moist and unstable northwest flow behind the storm. The amount of snow in the first part of the storm will be dependent upon where the bands set up, with moderate to sometimes heavy snow showers continuing in the second part of the storm through sunset Tuesday. Amounts are uncertain due to the banding nature of precipitation during the first part of the storm, but 6-12” of snow, starting out dense, but becoming lighter, is possible. Generally, the snow will be quite a bit denser than this past storm as temperatures will be warmer.
A transient ridge is forecast for Wednesday bringing a nice mostly sunny and warm Opening Day with fresh snow.
A minor wave quickly passes over the area late Wednesday or early Thanksgiving Day, possibly bringing some high elevation snow showers before dry air brings back sunny conditions for later in the day and Friday.
Earlier model runs had indicated a possible storm for Saturday, but they have trended weaker and now minimize the chance of precipitation for at least the first part of the weekend.