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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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