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Cold and wet weather for the upcoming week

Thursday, October 4, 2018

The Steamboat Springs area will see another wave of showers later this Thursday afternoon as the remnants of a storm to our west pass by, followed by a week of cold and wet weather as chunks of cold air from western Canada periodically move southward and mix with incoming Pacific energy over the western states.

There will be a break in the rain later tonight through Friday morning before a cold front is forecast to move through northern Colorado around noon. The front will bring sharply colder temperatures over 10 degrees cooler than our 64 F average for this date, the possibility of thunderstorms and snow levels as low as 8000′ - 9000′.

The weather will briefly clear behind the front Friday night through part of Saturday, allowing for a good view of what should be a snow-capped Mt. Werner Saturday morning, if the snow can survive the melting caused by warm ground temperatures.

More incoming Pacific energy mixes with some of the cold western Canadian air early in the weekend, producing a large storm that will move south through the Great Basin and take up residence in the Desert Southwest through early in the work week.

The evolution of this storm is uncertain, which makes the details of the weekend forecast hard to pin down. Right now, it appears some energy ejecting out of the storm should bring the chance of low elevation rain showers and high-elevation snow showers back to our area by later Saturday, perhaps as early as noon, and lasting into part of the night. What looked like continuing precipitation into Sunday may hold off for part of the day as the storm to our west trends further south in the weather forecast models. This further south solution means temperatures could be a bit warmer and the atmosphere a bit drier for a time in breezy southwesterly to even southerly flow, though weather forecast models disagree on the western extent of this warmer and drier air.

In any event, more Pacific energy and cold air from western Canada move the storm slowly eastward by early in the work week, and showers will pick up again later Sunday as ejecting energy moves over Colorado.

Precipitation should become steadier Sunday night, with snow at the higher elevations, as the slowly moving storm approaches and moves over our area through the week. Though details will change, it looks like the cold and wet weather will persist through the work week and possibly into the following weekend as additional incoming Pacific energy keeps mixing with the cold western Canadian air and re-energizing the storm. The coldest air, which will likely bring snowflakes to the Yampa Valley, looks to occur around Wednesday or Thursday.

I’m hesitant to throw this out there, but the symmetry is too good to ignore; it could be that this stormy period, which started with hurricane Rosa moving over our area, ends around or after next weekend as another hurricane is absorbed into the loitering storm and moves near our area. This then allows a ridge of high pressure off the West Coast to move inland and push the storm system to our east.

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