Several cool fronts in time for the weekend

Thursday, June 28, 2018

A Pacific storm currently crossing the West Coast will drag several cool fronts through the Steamboat Springs area starting Friday as the storm passes mostly north of our area this weekend. We’ll see cooler temperatures closer to normal, the possibility of showers later Saturday and continued gusty winds before hot temperatures return for the start of the Independence Day week.

After another hot day with gusty afternoon winds on this Thursday, a couple of dry cool fronts arriving early and late in the day Friday will knock temperatures back a bit, along with continued gusty winds.

Saturday is starting to look more interesting as the last cool front is now trending stronger in the American weather forecast models, after the same models showed a weakening trend earlier in the week. Furthermore, today is the first day that they show some moisture with the cool front, leading to a fairly uncertain forecast for later Saturday. While gusty winds are advertised by all the models, a stronger and wetter cool front would lead to at least the chance of Saturday afternoon and evening storms, with some possibly strong, and cooler afternoon temperatures.

If the front comes in on the stronger side later Saturday, then Sunday will start on the cool side, though all models have decreased winds and seasonably warm temperatures by the end of the day.

Temperatures will increase on Monday and become hot again by Tuesday as a ridge of high pressure that is forecast to move towards the East Coast elongates back westward across the country. There does seem to be some moisture that is transported northward into Colorado along the western periphery of the ridge starting around Independence Day, and this may be a signal that the Southwestern Monsoon is starting. However the moisture is sparse and little more than clouds and a small possibility of light showers is currently indicated for the end of the work week.

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Hot and dry week ahead

Sunday, June 24, 2018

An unseasonably strong storm brought a cold front through the Steamboat Springs area Saturday night, and we are seeing a cool and showery day this Sunday as storms move over northern Colorado in the moist and unstable northwest flow behind the front. Temperatures at the top of Mt. Werner fell from a high of 60F on Saturday afternoon to just about freezing around noon today, and the Arapahoe Basin ski area cam showed some accumulating snow near 12,000 feet!

This storm will depart Colorado sooner than I originally thought in the previous forecast, with showers ending by sunset, if not earlier, followed by a cool night. We should see plenty of sun for Monday as dry air settles over our region and very comfortable temperatures before a building ridge of high pressure moves over the Rocky Mountains and brings much warmer and drier air over Colorado starting Tuesday and lasting into the weekend.

A Pacific storm traveling eastward along the Canadian border will bring breezy conditions and some clouds for Wednesday, and a very small chance of some showers later in the day and overnight that would produce more gusty wind than rain.

Otherwise, hot and dry weather is advertised for the rest of the work week and heading into the weekend ahead of the next weather-maker that may very well be similar to the storms today and last Sunday. A strong Pacific storm may again mix with some cold air from the North Pole and develop into another unseasonably cold storm. As might be expected, there is disagreement among the various weather forecast models, with the American GFS advertising more cold air and a deeper storm that may affect us around mid next weekend.

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Nice start but unsettled end to the weekend

Thursday, June 21, 2018

A couple of storms will pass mostly north of the Steamboat Springs area on Friday and Sunday, with the Sunday storm likely extending into Monday and providing the best chance of wetting rains this week.

After a sunny day this Thursday with above average temperatures, the first grazing storm for Friday will drag a dry cool front through northern Colorado during the day. Winds will turn from the west to the northwest, and the dry airmass will limit the effects to cooler high temperatures closer to our mid-seventies June average, and perhaps a storm in the evening that would produce far more gusty wind than rain.

We should see warming temperatures with mostly sunny skies and perhaps some high clouds on Saturday ahead of a much stronger storm moving over or just north of northern Colorado by Sunday. Weather forecast models still disagree on the southern extent of the storm, but a seasonably strong cool front is advertised to pass through our area Saturday night with the chance of some showers.

Unsettled and below average temperatures are expected on Sunday when the storm is closest to our area and again on Monday behind the storm as it makes its way eastward. Sunday could be showery for most of the day, similar to last Sunday, if the storm takes the southern path, or showers could be confined to more of the afternoon if the storm takes a more northern path.

The unsettled and cool weather will last through Monday in the unstable northwest flow behind the storm.

Drier air starts to invade Colorado by Tuesday, and mostly sunny skies should dominate for the rest of the work week. Temperatures should be around average as the seasonal ridge of high pressure over the western states is suppressed by an active storm track well to our north.

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Nice weather ahead of midweek and weekend storms

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Though the weather turns nicer after this Sunday, we will see good chances of showers again around midweek and the coming weekend as a pair of storms pass over or near the Steamboat Springs area.

But first, the remnants of former Hurricane Bud will continue to affect our area through the rest of Father’s Day and into the overnight. Copious moisture, an unstable atmosphere that is becoming more unstable with periods of afternoon sun, and a grazing cool front from the north will fuel passing storms, with some areas receiving locally heavy rainfall under the stronger cells.

Behind the departing tropical moisture from Bud, much drier air will infiltrate the region in the southwest flow ahead of an unseasonably cold and large storm wobbling over the Great Basin. We should see pleasant temperatures on the seasonably cool side and plenty of sun for Monday and Tuesday.

Weather forecast models have the large and weakening Great Basin storm finally moving eastward by Tuesday and over our area by Wednesday, courtesy of another incoming Pacific storm. Temperatures will be knocked back and the chance of storms will return during the day Wednesday and overnight, with some of them possibly strong and capable of producing locally heavy rainfall and small hail.

The first day of summer on Thursday should be pleasant with temperatures staying on the cool side behind the departing storm. Much drier air and warmer temperatures are advertised to wash over much of the southwest, including Colorado, on Friday and Saturday ahead of another difficult-to-forecast storm passing through the Great Basin. The strong surface heating and residual low-level moisture will bring the chance of our typical summertime storms in the afternoons of both those days.

There is uncertainty with respect to the timing of the next Great Basin storm, but current forecasts have the it moving over or grazing our area around mid-weekend or soon thereafter, bringing cooler temperatures along with a good chance of strong storms for Sunday.

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Weekend rains on track

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Remarkably, the forecast from last Monday calling for weekend rains in the Steamboat Springs area looks to verify as an unseasonably cold Pacific Northwest storm, originally formed with some air from the North Pole, drops into the Great Basin and mixes with the remnants of former Hurricane Bud, currently near the southern tip of Baja.

Mid and upper-level moisture is already increasing as the southwesterly and southerly flow ahead of the storm carries subtropical moisture from the Mexican Plateau over Colorado. Our area will see the chance of an afternoon storm or two today, though they may produce more wind than rain as the lower levels of the atmosphere remain quite dry.

The coverage of storms should increase tomorrow afternoon and evening, with a better chance of precipitation reaching the ground as moisture continues to improve at all levels of the atmosphere.

By Saturday, the moisture from the Mexican Plateau is replaced by the deep tropical moisture associated with the remnants of decaying Hurricane Bud as it moves northward. Timing is still subject to change, but there may some showers early in the day before they intensify and become more numerous in the afternoon and overnight. Locally heavy rainfall rainfall is likely for those areas under the stronger cells, but most areas should see a twelve hour period of at least light to moderate rain.

There will likely be a break Sunday morning as the remnants of the hurricane pass north of our area, but additional energy rounding the Great Basin storm will continue the chance of Sunday storms, perhaps as early as late morning. Additionally, another storm from the north may graze northern Colorado Sunday afternoon and drag a cool front near our area which may, if it is close enough, be another trigger for strong storms.

It is unusual to have so much weather several days before Summer Solstice next Thursday, and worth noting.

And as might be expected with so much weather, there is a fair bit of uncertainty with the position of the unseasonably cold Great Basin storm as it wobbles to our west. Right now, weather forecast models keep the storm to our west through most of the upcoming work week. The southwest flow ahead of the storm is advertised to carry some dry air from the Desert Southwest over Colorado and return seasonable temperatures and mostly dry conditions to our area.

At some point late in the work week or early next weekend, shower chances increase again as at least a piece of the Great Basin storm is forecast to be nudged toward our area by another Pacific storm approaching the West Coast.

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