Friday, November 25, 2016
A building ridge brings dry air, sunny conditions and warming temperatures to the Steamboat Springs area today and Saturday. Valleys will start out cold in the mornings due to the formation of temperature inversions encouraged by the the season’s low sun angle and snowfall on the ground.
Three waves of energy will bring cold and snow for Sunday through overnight Tuesday. The first wave will cross the southern California coast Saturday afternoon. Concurrently, the second wave will be forced southward along the West Coast from the Gulf of Alaska by an approaching third wave that will also move through the Gulf of Alaska.
Snows should start by Sunday morning as the first wave is forced northeastward across the Great Basin Saturday night and over our area on Sunday by the second wave. Temperatures look cold enough for an all-snow event as the first storm forms a closed low near the Wyoming - Nebraska border by Sunday night. There may be a burst of snow with the front followed by light to moderate snows in the cool, moist and unstable northwest flow on the backside of the closed low to our northeast that makes travel difficult later in the day. Snows are expected to continue through the overnight Sunday hours, and though amounts are uncertain due to the complicated nature of the storms, we could see 5-10” on the hill by Monday morning.
While the bulk of the second wave dives towards the New Mexico - Mexico border by Monday, some energy does travel over the Rocky Mountains and phases with additional energy traveling around the closed low which is forecast to be around Minnesota by then. I would expect light snowfall for most of the day Monday with occasional heavier showers as lobes of energy from both the northern and southern systems travel over the area. Another 3-6” of snow by Tuesday morning is possible.
The third wave brings much colder air and takes a more inland route, diving southeastward across the Great Basin on Monday. We will see the cold air from this wave starting on Tuesday and accompanied by light low-density snowfall that will last into Wednesday morning. This could leave another 1-4” for the Wednesday morning mid-mountain report.
While Wednesday will start quite cold, we will be in-between systems before another wave from the northwest is forecast by the American GFS to bring light snow showers to our area as soon as Thursday morning. This wave is forecast to split around Colorado minimizing the amount of snow but keeping the unsettled and cool meteorological conditions around through the end of the work week.