Nice fall weekend ahead of colder and wetter weather

Thursday, October 25, 2018

The current cloudy skies in Steamboat Springs this Thursday afternoon are due to a wave of energy and moisture traveling down the east side of a flat ridge of high pressure to our west. Originally forecast in my last Sunday discussion to stay north and east of our area and arrive for Friday, the earlier arrival means warmer and sunnier weather for tomorrow, with high temperatures near our 54 F average.

The western ridge of high pressure will build over the weekend and move over our area leading to pleasant weather extending through Monday. A wave of Pacific energy and moisture is deflected to our north by the ridge around mid-weekend, and we should see breezy northwest winds with above average temperatures and some clouds on Saturday ahead of the wave, with less wind and slightly cooler temperatures for Sunday.

Warmer temperatures are expected Monday ahead of cooler and wetter weather that is still forecast for the rest of the work week as a strong Gulf of Alaska storm moves piecemeal over the west. The first part of the storm arrives around Monday night and will carry relatively dry but cold air originally sourced from the North Pole. A reinforcing wave of cold, but still relatively dry air is forecast for early in the day on Halloween, and we may see some light snow showers in the Yampa Valley on Tuesday and the first part of Wednesday during and behind these cold fronts.

A ridge of high pressure builds in the Gulf of Alaska behind the departing storm, and a much wetter Pacific storm moves over the top of the ridge and mixes with some cold air from Alaska around Tuesday. This should be a fairly significant weather maker for northern Colorado later Wednesday and Thursday as the storm will be accompanied by strong northwest winds and plenty of moisture. It is unclear whether the storm arrives early enough to affect Halloween activities for later Wednesday and whether it will be all snow in the Yampa Valley on Thursday, but snow above the valley floor will likely make travel over the passes difficult.

There is a lot of uncertainty for Friday and the following weekend as weather forecast models disagree on the track of another storm that may affect our area.

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