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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.

Hurricane Rosa precedes stormy pattern change for first half of October

Sunday, September 30, 2018

The weather in Steamboat Springs this Sunday will feature continued warm temperatures well above our 65 F average along with breezy southwest winds. Between a vortex of cold air spinning over Hudson Bay, a broad storm off the California Coast and weakening hurricane Rosa off the Baja coast, our pleasant fall weather will turn stormier heading into the first half of October as we first experience warm showers associated with decaying Rosa later Tuesday and then a series of cold fronts that will eventually bring snow to our area.

Some energy ejecting out of the West Coast storm will travel north of our area this Sunday, but bring some afternoon and evening clouds today and Monday, along with the possibility of some light showers. By Tuesday, former hurricane Rosa will be absorbed into the southwest flow ahead of the West Coast storm, and we should see increasing chances for rain as the storm moves near our area by later in the day and through Wednesday morning, with some areas possibly receiving moderate to heavy rainfall for a time.

There may be a small break between the departing former hurricane and a series of cold fronts that will move through our area over the next two weeks starting Wednesday night. Each cold front will bring unsettled weather and increasingly colder air to the region as pieces of cold air in western Canada break away from the Hudson Bay vortex and either mix with incoming Pacific energy or reinvigorate the storm system near the West Coast, or both.

The timing and strength of the cold fronts will certainly be subject to change, but right now there are good precipitation chances for almost every day for the next two weeks. Initially, the West Coast storm is forecast to move inland and pass near our area around next weekend, though additional incoming Pacific energy and cold air from western Canada keep cold and unsettled weather over the western states through the following week as well. For what its worth, it appears the coldest air and the best chance for snowflakes in the Steamboat Springs area will occur early in the work week after next weekend.

Unsettled and possibly wet work week ahead after a nice weekend

Thursday, September 27, 2018

As the sun continues moving south of the equator and the northern latitudes cool, the jet stream grows stronger and moves southward. Waves of energy spinning around a large vortex of cool air near Hudson Bay have brought cool temperatures to the upper Midwest and seasonable temperatures to the Steamboat Springs area so far this week.

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Our temperatures will rise above our 66 F average starting today and lasting through a pleasant weekend, though we’ll see breezy to windy afternoons, with winds first from the northwest as a surge of cool air slides east of our area along the Front Range on Friday, and then from the west and eventually southwest as a storm off the California coast moves to our northwest on Sunday.

Another Pacific storm appears off the coast of California late in the weekend and conspires with hurricane Rosa, currently south of the Baja coast, to bring likely heavy rainfall to the southwestern quarter of the U.S., including our area, after the weekend.

Different weather forecast models have different ideas on how and when the Pacific storm interacts with the hurricane, though they generally agree that the the hurricane will be absorbed into the southwest flow ahead of the Pacific storm and carried over or near our area around Tuesday or Wednesday. We may see some high clouds later on Sunday, with mid and high clouds moving over our area by Monday, along with some showers possible by later in the day.

There may be a break in the cloud cover before the bulk of of decaying storm Rosa passes near or over our area later Tuesday or Wednesday, bringing possibly heavy rain and flooding concerns over recent burn scars. Unsettled weather is then expected behind the former hurricane for the rest of the work week as the Pacific storm makes landfall midweek and slowly moves across the Desert Southwest.

Several cool fronts bring seasonable weather for the upcoming week

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Cold air from western Canada is sliding southeastward along a building ridge of high pressure in the Gulf of Alaska, and this pattern will bring several cool fronts to the Steamboat Springs area starting overnight tonight. Currently on this Sunday, we are seeing breezy and warm southwest winds and some clouds across northwestern Colorado in advance of the first front.

There is some moisture associated with the front, and there will be the possibility of showers overnight and early Monday morning as this first cool front moves through the area. Showers may linger in the morning, but should be gone by the afternoon as we see seasonable temperatures near our 68 F average.

Low temperatures will also be around or slightly below our 32 F average, and the seasonable weather looks to continue through most of the work week as additional surges of cool air from the north keep the warmer than average temperatures experienced lately at bay.

By Friday, a storm that was caught underneath the Gulf of Alaska ridge of high pressure will finally move eastward, and is forecast to cross the northern California coast early in the weekend before moving to the north of our area late in the weekend. We’ll see a bit of a warm-up heading into and lasting through the weekend, along with breezy to windy westerly to southwesterly flow as the system passes by.

A couple of cool fronts this week

Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Steamboat Springs area should see a very pleasant and warm weekend around the fall equinox, which occurs at 7:54 pm Saturday evening. A cool front currently timed for Monday will bring the chance of some showers, followed by cooler temperatures that will last through the upcoming week.

Currently, behind the cool front that passed through the Steamboat Springs area last night, this Thursday will see sunny skies and breezy west to northwest winds with seasonable temperatures around the 70 F average. Temperatures will warm to above average for Friday and the weekend with lots of sun through Sunday morning, but as mentioned in the previous forecast, we will see cool mornings at or below our 33 F average for Friday and Saturday that may require tender vegetation to be protected.

Depending on the speed of the next cool front, we may see some mid and high level clouds to end the weekend along with breezy southwest winds. Currently forecast for Monday, our next cool front may have enough moisture associated with it for some showers during the day.

Whatever moisture that is brought by the front is gone by later Tuesday, and seasonable temperatures with plenty of sun are expected through midweek, with increasing winds as the next weather event approaches.

The strongest cool front of the season is forecast for around Thursday, and if there was moisture associated with it, there would be snow on Mt. Werner by Friday morning. Current forecasts, however, keep the front fairly dry, bringing cooling temperatures later Thursday as the front moves though the area and eventually below freezing temperatures to the northern half of the Midwest as the weather system slides to our east.

Beyond Thursday and into the following weekend, our area will be sandwiched between the cold Midwest and warming Pacific Northwest, bringing dry and breezy northwesterly winds along with seasonable temperatures.

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