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Four storms over the next week

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The storm which has brought record rainfall to Salt Lake City today will intensify as it moves east of the Colorado Rockies tonight and forms a tightly wound closed low over the southern Front Range. The track and evolution of the storm is not favorable for the Steamboat Springs area as we don’t see a strong cold front or northwest flow behind the storm; in fact there might even be gusty northeasterly winds by Friday morning. While the storm looked promising earlier in the week, I only expect 1-4” of snow on the Friday morning report.

Precipitation will end by noon on Friday as seasonably cooler temperatures return for the day. Temperatures will warm on Saturday as a transient ridge develops behind the departing storm and ahead of the next one currently timed for Saturday night.

This wave will cross the California coast early Saturday and quickly move across the Great Basin during the day as it undergoes a modest spit, starting another round of precipitation for our area around Saturday evening. Even though the storm is considerably weaker than tonight’s storm, it’s structure is more conducive for snow as temperatures are cooler and the northwest mountain-top wind behind the front is favorable for Mt. Werner.

There is disagreement among the short and longer-range models, but 1-4” of snow is possible by Sunday morning with an additional 1-3” during the day before precipitation ends by sunset Sunday.

Brief ridging is now forecast for Monday before a third storm from the Gulf of Alaska moves south across California on Monday and Tuesday, forming a closed low as it approaches the southern U.S. border. Southwest flow ahead of the storm will carry energy and moisture northeastward, eventually spreading showers over the Steamboat Springs area by Tuesday morning.

Interestingly, the European ECMWF has the same closed low, but also has some energy splitting from this wave early in the week, bringing a cool front through our area around Tuesday night. So it is not clear if we receive a relatively warm precipitation event that ends by Tuesday night, or a cooler and more productive event that possibly lasts through Wednesday.

Surprisingly, models come into better agreement in bringing another wave with a similar track to the third storm across California on Wednesday, possibly affecting our weather by later Thursday or Friday for more unsettled weather heading into next weekend.

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