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Showers on Friday followed by weekend wind

Thursday, August 2, 2018

The best chance for showers in Steamboat Springs this week will occur on Friday ahead of some breezy conditions for the weekend that should at least temporarily clear the smoke blanketing the Yampa Valley from the Silver Creek fire to our south.

The last forecast from Sunday afternoon is in good shape as a Pacific storm currently crossing the West Coast near Vancouver pushes the dominant ridge of high pressure over the southwest eastward. Some energy and moisture rotating northward along the western periphery of the ridge will cross northern Colorado during the first half of Friday, and we may see a gusty shower ahead of the main push later this afternoon. But the best chance for showers looks to be between midnight tonight and noon Friday as the wave passes over northern Colorado, with some smoke dispersal possible. There will also be a chance for afternoon showers that linger into the evening as residual moisture is heated by the strong summer sun.

By Saturday, the Vancouver storm will be moving east, but winds will increase from the west as the storm nears, which should clear the smoke from the area if it wasn’t dispersed on Friday. Some energy associated with the storm will graze our area in the afternoon and possibly overnight which should lead to another chance of afternoon and evening showers.

Drier air works in behind the grazing storm for Sunday with still breezy conditions, though an afternoon shower cannot be ruled out.

For the following week, the ridge of high pressure will move back westward toward the Desert Southwest once again as the first large storm of the next season brews in the Gulf of Alaska. The southerly flow ahead of this storm will encourage the persistent southwestern ridge to amplify and expand northward heading into next weekend.

Longer range models have the Gulf of Alaska storm moving first south early in the work week and then east, and this will again force the southwestern ridge of high pressure eastward as well. Like the current scenario, we will see moisture increasing as this occurs with another chance of monsoonal showers looking possible after next weekend.

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