Sunday, November 25, 2018
A ridge of high pressure currently over the West Coast will move over the Rockies by Tuesday and bring clearing skies over the Steamboat Springs area starting this Sunday afternoon through Tuesday. The weather then turns unsettled around midweek and likely stormy near the end of the work week and into next weekend as incoming Pacific energy once again impacts the West.
The light and fluffy snow currently falling in Steamboat Springs should end this morning as drier air enters the area, bringing periods of sun by this afternoon, especially in the valley. Seasonably cool temperatures below our average high of 35 F and average low of 12 F will persist today and Monday as a couple of waves of cool dry air from the Canadian Plains slides southward along the east side of the ridge of high pressure currently to our west.
Tuesday will be likely be the nicest day of the week as the ridge of high pressure moves directly overhead. But incoming Pacific energy keeps the ridge moving eastward, and there will be an increase in clouds by Wednesday with perhaps some sparse snow showers ahead of the next storm cycle.
Several waves of Pacific energy will bring stormier weather back to the West starting around Thursday. There is considerable uncertainty in the weather forecast models with respect to the timing and strength of these waves, but current trends indicate a good chance for accumulating snows on Thursday, and after a short break, Friday into Saturday. The forecast for the early weekend storm is a bit of a wildcard, as it is not clear if the storm will move quickly through our area or move more slowly to our south, and this will greatly affect our snowfall totals.
Another storm may follow later in the weekend, according to the American GFS, or be shunted to our north, according to the European ECMWF. The cause of disagreement is related to a ridge of high pressure that is forecast to build in the Gulf of Alaska early in the weekend, and the strength and areal extent of this ridge will affect how Pacific energy is partitioned as it encounters this atmospheric obstacle. In fact, the evolution of the Friday/Saturday storm will also depend upon how this ridge develops.