Thursday, March 16, 2017
Winds increased today as a storm passed well to the north of Steamboat Springs and flattened the western ridge of high pressure responsible for our unseasonably warm temperatures. After some clouds move through tonight, the ridge will quickly rebound bringing sunny skies and near record temperatures to our region for Friday and Saturday.
Meanwhile, much further to our west off the coast of Japan, a large storm that formed this week will eject some energy that will undercut and break down the dominant Bering Sea ridge Saturday. This will force a loitering storm currently north of Hawaii eastward, and as it phases with a storm in the Gulf of Alaska the pair will bring some cooling, breezy westerly winds and the possibility of some light afternoon showers for Sunday that may produce more wind than precipitation.
By Monday, the energy ejected from the west Pacific storm will phase with some cold air moving southward through the Gulf of Alaska early in the work week, forming a storm off the West Coast. Late Sunday’s possibly unsettled weather looks more likely Monday and Monday night before the western U.S. ridge briefly reforms ahead of West Coast storm, bringing more warm temperatures to the region for Tuesday and likely Wednesday as well.
Forecast models have the West Coast storm making landfall around midweek, bringing increasing clouds to Colorado on Wednesday and precipitation by overnight. Temperatures will stay warm ahead of the storm leading to snow levels above 9000′ before the storm moves through the central Rockies on Thursday.
As might be imagined a week out, there is uncertainty with respect to the timing of the storm, with the models trending slower with system speed, as well as storm structure, with the American GFS forming a closed low that would bring moderate to heavy snowfall to the Steamboat Springs area on Thursday.
Regardless of how this storm evolves, the storm in the western Pacific is forecast to merge with and intensify the subtropical jet stream, sending another stronger, colder and wetter storm towards the West Coast by the end of the work week. Current model forecasts have another round of brief ridging ahead of this likely major storm heading into next weekend before the storm makes landfall early in the weekend and affects our area later in the weekend.