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Cold and unsettled weather continues for most of the upcoming week

Sunday, October 7, 2018

The weather over the Steamboat Springs area, indeed much of the west, will be influenced this upcoming week by a number of weather systems, including the current large storm in the Great Basin this Sunday afternoon, additional waves of Pacific energy traveling through the Gulf of Alaska and mixing to some degree with cold western Canadian air, and hurricane Sergio, currently over 1000 miles west-southwest of the southern tip of Baja. If that sounds like a lot is going on in the atmosphere, it is, and leads directly to uncertainty in the weather forecast for this upcoming week.

The weather this Sunday ended up being on the warm and dry side of last Thursday’s forecast, as the Great Basin storm ended up far enough south for southerly winds in advance of the storm to carry warmer and drier air northward over our area. The storm is forecast to slowly weaken and move to the northeast over the next two days, with good chances for rain tonight and Monday as the storm nears, with snow confined above 9000′ - 10000′.

The cool air will take its time getting here though, with current weather forecast models advertising a cold front moving through later Monday as the storm passes near northern Colorado and heads east of our area by Tuesday. The atmosphere will start to dry as the cool air arrives, but there may be enough moisture for some snowflakes down in the Yampa Valley Monday night or early Tuesday.

Meanwhile, a storm traveling through the Gulf of Alaska is forecast to mix with some cold western Canadian air and move into the west on Tuesday. The evolution of this storm will be quite complicated, which again leads to forecast uncertainty. Right now, most of Tuesday appears to be on the dry side with a small chance of showers in the unstable air behind the late Monday front.

Precipitation chances increase later Tuesday and Wednesday as the some of the new western storm travels eastward near northern Colorado and drags a cold front through our area. This will be the coldest air of the season so far, and could bring some accumulations to the grassy areas of the Yampa Valley on Wednesday.

Another chunk of cold air from western Canada undergoes a complicated split on Thursday, with some moving over our area for a continued chance of showers, and some staying to our west and elongating the western storm into southern California.

This part of the storm will likely interact with hurricane Sergio, which is forecast to cross the central Baja peninsula around Friday. As much uncertainty existed in the forecast to this point, even more exists for the end of the work week and next weekend when considering the track of the hurricane. The bulk of Sergio and the western storm may stay south of our area, causing a welcome warming and drying, or the storm complex may be far enough north to influence our weather next weekend.

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