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Midweek storm followed by stormy period starting this weekend

Monday, December 26, 2016

After fresh snow and a clear Monday night, the Yampa Valley will start out quite cold Tuesday morning, though temperatures should moderate during the day under sunny skies, especially at the higher elevations.

The next wave in the Pacific jet stream will move across the Pacific Northwest on Monday and the northern Rockies on Tuesday, bringing breezy conditions to northern Colorado in cool and moist northwest flow. Light to moderate snows are likely for Wednesday before tapering off overnight, with 3-6” expected on the Thursday morning report.

Meanwhile, a storm in the eastern Pacific spits in the Gulf of Alaska midweek. The southern piece is forecast to form a closed low that eventually meanders north of Hawaii while the northern piece allows a flat and dry ridge to move over the Intermountain West for Thursday and Friday for a nice couple of days.

By Friday, the northern piece of energy undergoes its own split, with the southern piece traveling south along the West Coast as it dislodges another meandering storm off the coast of Baja eastward. While models initially forecast this storm to stay to the south of the Steamboat Springs area, current forecasts have mid and high clouds encroaching on our area Friday night and light snows for much of Saturday. The further south track initially forecast would keep our area precipitation-free for Saturday if it comes to pass.

Another Pacific storm moving across the Aleutian Islands on Friday phases with some very cold western Canadian air and most of the storm drops southward from the Gulf of Alaska along the Pacific Northwest coast. As was the case with preceding wave, this very cold storm pushes the original storm to it’s south eastward, bringing another round of light to possibly moderate snows to our area that peak around Sunday night. Again, there is uncertainty with regards to the northern extent of the precipitation.

Snowy weather will likely continue into the following work week as the strong Pacific Northwest storm elongates to the west and east. This brings a frontal boundary near our region as early as Monday morning that could be a productive snow-maker as energy is ejected along this boundary from the Pacific Northwest storm. The exact placement of this frontal boundary will likely change in coming model runs, so stay tuned to the end-of-week forecast on Thursday or Friday for updated details.


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