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Quiet weather week ahead

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Other than a mostly dry cool front currently timed for early Saturday, not much weather is in the cards for Steamboat Springs this Labor Day weekend up until possibly mid week when substantial uncertainty appears in the weather forecast.

Our area is currently sandwiched between a broad area of cool air to our northwest and a warm ridge of high pressure to our southeast. For the rest of today and Friday, expect breezy southwest winds, passing clouds and temperatures above our 77 F average as the upper level flow is squeezed between the two weather systems on either side of us.

Some of the cool air to our northwest will translate eastward through the weekend, bringing a mostly dry cool front through Colorado on Saturday. The southwest flow ahead of this front will draw some monsoonal-like moisture northward, but activity will stay south of our area, and even there more wind than rain is expected.

Temperatures will cool to near average on Saturday and Sunday, with cool morning lows near our average of 40 F. Drier air may move in behind the front, so there may be more sun for Sunday and Monday, with temperatures warming to above average by Labor Day.

As early as Monday night, significant differences between the weather forecast models appear, with the European ECMWF carrying Pacific energy southward well off the California coast and bringing southwest flow and dry and warm weather to our area through midweek. The American GFS, conversely, brings some of that Pacific energy ashore and advertises a cold front passing through our area around Wednesday, along with a dose of showers. Stay tuned to my Sunday forecast as to how this plays out.

Breezy and chance for showers ahead of cool front Tuesday

Sunday, August 26, 2018

A complex storm currently over the Pacific Northwest this Sunday morning will move over the Intermountain region over the next two days, eventually bringing a couple of cool fronts through the Steamboat Springs area on Tuesday.

The southwest flow ahead of the storm will keep the chance of showers around later today, with short range models indicating the best chance of brief, locally heavy rainfall and possible small hail this evening, and lighter showers later overnight, as energy embedded within the monsoonal flow weakly interacts with the first piece of energy ejecting out of the Pacific Northwest storm.

Winds will increase from the southwest and west on Monday as another piece of the Pacific Northwest storm ejects to our north. It looks like some drier air will infiltrate our area during the day behind the departing wave of energy and ahead of the eastward moving main storm to our northwest, precluding the chance of showers. Some cooler air does look to make into our region overnight on Monday leading to a cool start to Tuesday with low temperatures in the 30’s.

Then, another push of cool air associated with the main storm looks to arrive during the first half of Tuesday, a bit later than indicated in my Thursday forecast. Additionally, there will be some moisture associated with the cool front for a chance of showers on Tuesday before much drier air arrives late in the day or early Wednesday.

If skies clear Tuesday night, Wednesday will start quite chilly, with low temperatures again in the 30’s before a ridge of high pressure is advertised to build over our area for the rest of the work week, bringing warming temperatures and sunny skies heading into the weekend.

Next weekend’s weather will be determined by the evolution of another Pacific Northwest storm, with timing and strength currently uncertain. Right now, my best guess is a relatively dry cool front on Saturday followed by warming temperatures and perhaps and increasing chance of showers by late in the weekend.

Warming and drying heading into the weekend

Thursday, August 23, 2018

The weather over the northern hemisphere is turning more active as the northern latitudes cool and force a strengthening jet stream further south. The Steamboat Springs area is currently seeing clearing skies under below average temperatures as the storm that brought beneficial rains to the Yampa Valley this week departs our area. Most areas received between a tenth or two of an inch of rain by Tuesday morning, and between two and three tenths of an inch for each of Wednesday and this mornings.

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We should see some sun and clouds for the rest of this Thursday with a possibility of a passing shower, with comfortably cool temperatures staying below our average 79 F and breezy westerly winds. Temperature will warm close to or above average on Friday as the upper level flow turns southwest ahead of another Pacific storm forecast to cross the West Coast late in the day.

The southwesterly flow ahead of the storm will bring some monsoonal moisture back to our area through the weekend and early next week with warm tempeartures. While showers will be more likely further south, we should see a small chance for showers on Saturday. There may be a better chance for Sunday and Monday as the Pacific storm moves across the Great Basin if some dry air associated with the storm stays north of our area, though there is weather model disagreement on that prognosis.

In any event, ahead of the storm, we should see the winds pick up from the southwest, especially on Monday before the cool front associated with the storm moves through late in the day or early Tuesday. Much drier air overspreads the area behind the front, and after a chilly start to a pleasantly cool Tuesday, warmer temperatures, sunny skies and likely breezy westerly winds will dominate the rest of the work week.

More rain chances around midweek

Sunday, August 19, 2018

The Steamboat Springs area is currently experiencing a delightfully cool Sunday with a noon temperature around 60 F, courtesy of cool northwest flow behind a departing storm. The storm brought beneficial rains to the Yampa Valley this weekend, with between one and two tenths of an inch associated with a 6 pm thunderstorm Friday and another three to four tenths mostly occurring during steadier rainfall Saturday morning.

Energy still rotating around the backside of the storm will drag a reinforcing shot of cool and dry air over our area this evening leading to a chilly start to Monday morning, and another day of pleasant temperatures below or close to average.

Meanwhile, a Pacific storm that is currently stalled over Oregon will interact with both some cool air dropping southward from western Canada and monsoonal moisture moving northward along the western periphery of the rebuilding southwestern U.S. ridge. Most of the Canadian cool air will move eastward through the northern Rockies and bring a cool front through Wyoming Monday night, with precipitation initially looking to stay north of Colorado border. However, by Tuesday afternoon and especially overnight, monsoonal moisture and energy will then move over our area, bringing a good chance of accumulating rainfall.

By Wednesday, the bulk of the Oregon storm is forecast to begin moving eastward across the northern Rockies, and we should see a continued chance of more intermittent but possibly strong storms from Wednesday through Thursday evening.

Drier air moves in behind the departing storm for Friday and the first part of the weekend, though another quick moving Pacific storm is forecast to cross the Pacific Northwest coast around then. Early indications are that this will nudge the southwestern ridge of high pressure back to the east, and that will re-open the door to more monsoonal moisture moving northward along the western periphery of the ridge. Some of this moisture may move over our area by late in the weekend for an increasing chance of showers as early as Sunday.

Cooler temperatures for the weekend

Thursday, August 16, 2018

The Steamboat Springs area will see continued hot temperatures for this Thursday and Friday before an incoming Pacific storm knocks afternoon temperatures back toward or even below our 81 F average high for this time of year in time for the weekend.

Currently, some moisture has been drawn northward underneath the ridge of high pressure over the western U.S. that is responsible for our hot temperatures, though the moisture is forecast to stay largely south of our area today. By Friday, we will see some of that moisture move near or over north central Colorado, and that will lead to a better chance of some clouds and a slight chance of some weak and gusty afternoon storms that may produce brief, locally heavy rainfall.

Meanwhile, the incoming Pacific storm is forecast to cross the West Coast on Friday and bring a cool front through our area sometime around Saturday morning. As currently predicted by weather forecast models, we should see our best chance of showers early in the day as the cool front passes, with a break early in the afternoon as drier air infiltrates behind the front.

But several reinforcing surges of cool air in northwest flow on the backside of the storm may get showers going again later Saturday and again Sunday afternoon before skies clear overnight, leading to relatively cool Sunday and Monday mornings.

After a pleasantly cool Monday with temperatures slightly below average, a final surge of cool air will keep cool temperatures around early Tuesday before they soar to above average by Tuesday afternoon as the western ridge of high pressure rebuilds behind the departing storm.

Another Pacific storm will be deflected northward by this ridge early in the work week, though not before moving it eastward enough so we may see some increasing monsoonal moisture by midweek. This would lead to an increasing chance of showers for around Wednesday and Thursday before the atmosphere dries again during the end of the work week. After that, weather forecast models disagree on the strength and southern extent of another cool front timed for around the following weekend.

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