Friday, February 10, 2017
A splitting wave is currently crossing the West Coast and will affect our weather this weekend. The southern portion of the split will form a closed low and dive south to Baja by Sunday as the northern portion of the split screams across the northern U.S. this weekend as an open wave.
Before the Steamboat Springs area feels the effects from the northern part of the storm, energy ejecting out of the southern part of the storm will bring rain showers to elevations below around 9000′ by this evening.
The precipitation will increase in intensity overnight as temperatures begin to cool due to the approach of the northern portion of the storm. Snow levels will drop overnight and into tomorrow morning before the Yampa Valley sees snow, but the timing of that switch is uncertain. Models have trended a bit faster with the arrival of cool air, and current forecasts have the switch to snow occurring early Saturday morning for the valley.
Temperatures will continue to cool through Sunday morning as the northern portion of the storm moves east of our area, but snows should end by later Saturday as moisture quickly erodes behind the diffuse cool front. Snow forecasts for the hill are tough due to the timing of the switch and the temperature-related density of snow, but right now I expect 3-6” of dense snow for the morning report and and additional 3-6” of lighter and fluffier snow during the day Saturday, most of which will occur before noon.
While the main part of this storm ends later Saturday, and some dry air works into northern Colorado by early Sunday, moisture from the Baja low is forecast to move northward and bring some clouds with the chance of light showers later Sunday as it combines with some left-over energy from the northern part of the storm.
Meanwhile, the Bering Sea ridge present these last few weeks is forecast to collapse, allowing cold air from Siberia and the North Pole to surge into the central Pacific. Initially, a ridge of high pressure will build off the West Coast as the Pacific jet stream is re-energized. This ridge is forecast to translate over the western U.S. during the work week, bringing warm and mostly sunny conditions. However, the re-energized Pacific jet will likely bring more stormy weather sometime around President’s Day weekend or soon thereafter.