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Lots of sun before weather turns unsettled after midweek

Sunday, March 17, 2019

The Steamboat Springs area is seeing its second sunny day in a row this Sunday, which has been an infrequent occurrence during this active winter season. We should see a fair bit of sunshine along with seasonably cool temperatures through midweek before an approaching Pacific storm spreads first clouds and then showers over our area as soon as Thursday, with unsettled weather forecast to continue through next weekend.

A ridge of high pressure over the West Coast is responsible for our current pleasant weather, and weak and dry waves of energy traveling over or through the ridge will keep the seasonably cool temperatures around through midweek. One of these waves looks to bring some clouds to our area by Monday afternoon that may last into or possibly through Tuesday, depending on how quickly we see the dry air behind the grazing storm.

Meanwhile, a large and cold storm between Hawaii and the West Coast splits as it approaches the West Coast ridge of high pressure, with the southern section warming as it it moves slowly underneath the ridge. By Tuesday night, the storm is forecast to cross the West Coast, likely bringing our warmest day of the week on Wednesday in weak southwest flow ahead of the storm.

The storm is forecast to lumber across the Great Basin around Thursday and Friday, and first clouds around Wednesday night and then showers by Thursday are expected as bits of energy and moisture are ejected out ahead of the storm.

Weather forecast models disagree on details regarding the track and speed of the storm, but seasonably warm weather with a chance of rain showers at the lower elevations and snow showers at the higher elevations are most likely on Thursday and perhaps Friday as well.

Another Pacific storm follows quickly on the path of the first, crossing the West Coast later Friday before traveling across the Great Basin on Saturday. There may be a downturn in the showery weather on Saturday, but the weather should turn more active again on Sunday and lasting into Monday as we see some favorable moist and unstable northwest flow as the storm passes. However, cold air is absent from this storm, as was the case with the first, so best accumulations will likely be at the higher elevations.

There may be a brief break in the unsettled weather after the weekend by later Monday into some of Tuesday before a colder Pacific storm looks to start precipitation up again around midweek.

Save your soles! You suspect that the grating and grinding sounds you hear from your ski boots as you walk across hard surfaces can’t be good. In fact, worn boot soles make your binding unsafe as it interferes with the boot-binding interface. Cat Tracks are a flexible protector that keeps your boot soles pristine, and adds a cushion for walking comfort. When it’s time to click into bindings, I take them off and stash them in my coat pocket. Yaktrax are similar, but I have not used them since they appear they would take up a bit more space in my jacket pocket. But you get a rocker sole that promotes a natural stride which may be worth the space sacrifice. If I did not have to carry them around all day, these would be my choice.

A rare quiet weather week ahead

Thursday, March 14, 2019

After the Steamboat Ski Area reported 8” at mid-mountain and 17” up top on the Thursday morning ski report, with most of that occurring during the day yesterday, cold air behind Colorado’s near-record storm has kept high temperatures almost 15 F below our normal of 41 F in Steamboat Springs this afternoon. That will change starting on Friday as a ridge of high pressure builds over the West and brings lots of sun and warmer temperatures closer to average to the Steamboat Springs area for most of the following week.

But first, a trailing wave of energy will bring another surge of cold air in tonight, leading to a chilly start to Friday morning with low temperatures also around 15 F below our average low of 17 F. The sun will return, though, warming temperatures from Thursday but still staying below our average.

Saturday will start cold again, though not quite as cold as Friday morning, with temperatures warming near average.

Hard-to-time weak waves of energy and moisture moving either over the top, through, or under the building ridge of high pressure over the West will bring periods of clouds over the following week. The best moisture and even a chance of showers is possible for our area on Tuesday, though there is disagreement between the weather forecast models as to whether that will happen.

Meanwhile, a strong storm forms in the still-active Pacific jet stream and forces the western ridge of high pressure eastward, likely bringing our warmest temperatures of the week on Wednesday as the ridge passes over the Continental Divide. This storm is currently forecast to cross the West Coast on Wednesday and begin making its way across the Great Basin on Thursday. Significant moisture is once again forecast with this relatively warm storm, and our area should see increasing clouds in southwest flow early on Thursday followed by showers later in the day.

Precipitation is expected to last into Friday with this storm and may continue into the weekend as weather forecast models advertise a quickly-following second Pacific storm moving across our region.

I absolutely love this super-warm split-finger mitten-glove! I’m on my second season with these and am very impressed with their durability and warmth, especially when combined with the standard HotHands handwamers. Three fingers sit together with the index finger separated, but there is enough room to scrunch all your fingers together while on the lift, which is especially nice if you have a handwarmer in the mitten-part of the glove.

Unsettled weather ahead of strong Wednesday storm

Sunday, March 10, 2019

After another three inches of snow fell overnight at the Steamboat Ski Area and brought the season-accumulated snowfall at mid-mountain to 303” so far, snow showers will redevelop this Sunday afternoon, as well as Monday, before Tuesday looks precipitation free. A strong and cold storm from the Pacific Northwest will bring significant snows to the Steamboat Springs area on Wednesday that will extend into Thursday before warming and drying is advertised to start on Friday and extend into next weekend.

The light snow currently falling in the Steamboat Springs area is the result of our area being between a large developing storm off the coast of southern California and a quick-moving storm over the Great Lakes. Snow showers will continue this Sunday afternoon before leaving another inch or two and ending soon after sunset as the California storm begins its eastward trek across the Desert Southwest, thanks to a strong and cold storm moving southeastward across the Gulf of Alaska.

As the Desert Southwest storm moves south of our area, another round of minimally accumulating snow showers will be possible Monday afternoon as some energy ejects out of the storm and moves over our area, with likely heavy snows starting in southern Colorado and New Mexico.

Tuesday is now looking precipitation-free as northern Colorado will be between the Desert Southwest storm and the rapidly approaching Pacific Northwest storm, with some dry air near our area allowing for some sunshine.

By Wednesday morning, we should see the return of snow showers behind the Desert Southwest storm and ahead of the Pacific Northwest storm, with showers becoming moderate to heavy by later in the day as a strong cold front barrels across the region.

Snows should continue overnight and into Thursday as the two storm mix just east of the Continental Divide and form a single strong storm that is forecast to move across the Midwest, bringing winter weather to that region and eventually a line of severe storms across the rest of the country.

Though the rapidly developing storm may throw some forecast curveballs, much colder weather with continued snow showers are expected for Thursday in the moist and unstable northwest flow behind the cold front. Snows are forecast to eventually end around Thursday night behind a trailing wave that brings even colder air to our region.

At this point, I would guess 5-10” of snow at mid-mountain for the Thursday morning report, with some Steamboat Magic likely on Thursday extending past noon and leaving another 2-5” that would be reported on the Friday morning report.

A ridge of high pressure builds inland near the end of the work week, and after a chilly Friday morning with lows likely well below our average of 15 F, the sun is forecast to return with temperatures quickly moderating under the increasingly strong March sun.

There are some weak and relatively dry waves of energy that move through the ridge of high pressure early and late in the weekend, but only some clouds are expected to periodically interrupt what is forecast to be our first spring-feeling weekend of this long winter season.

Stop battling cold feet! I’ve used the awesome Hotronic foot warmers from their beginnings, and can honestly say that each iteration of the product is better than the last. I have the S4 custom, attached to my powerstrap so they never fall off, and my toes stay warm for my entire ski day.

Colder snow arrives later Friday

Thursday, March 7, 2019

While a a strong and cold storm spins in the Pacific Northwest, Colorado has been under the influence of a warm and very moist airmass from storms that developed over the Pacific between Hawaii and California earlier in the week. Colder air will return our fluffy and low-density snow around Friday afternoon into Saturday morning before the heaviest snowfall ends and warmer temperatures in continued unsettled weather reappear for Sunday through midweek. Temperatures will then cool, but the unsettled weather will persist for the rest of the work week and possibly the following weekend.

After a 7” mid-mountain report and 11” at the summit of the Steamboat Ski Area this Thursday morning, with most of that falling during the day yesterday, we’ll see afternoon snow showers in the slightly cooler and unstable westerly flow that may produce several inches of snow that would be reported Friday morning.

A couple more incoming Pacific storms will mix with the Pacific Northwest storm before what is left of it moves along the U.S. - Canadian border, the first timed to arrive in the Steamboat Springs area Friday and the second mostly missing our area as it first dives southward along the California Coast before moving eastward early in the work week across the U.S. - Mexican border.

The storm arriving Friday will be preceded by snow showers in the morning and will be accompanied by a strong cold front that should bring moderate to heavy snow when it passes Friday afternoon, along with difficult travel conditions and continued light to moderate showers overnight and into Saturday morning. I would expect 6-12” for the Saturday morning report at mid-mountain, with about half that currently forecast to occur while the lifts are spinning and the other half occurring after the lifts stop.

There may be an opportunity for some Steamboat Magic Saturday morning in northwest flow, though a warming atmosphere behind the storm will allow showers to taper off through the day, with only another 1-4” expected.

Meanwhile, as the second storm develops along the California Coast, more unsettled weather along with warmer temperatures are advertised for Sunday, with only light accumulations expected.

As the storm initially is well south of northern Colorado on Monday, not much weather is expected, but by Tuesday, another incoming Pacific storm forces the storm to our south to move to the northeast, and there may be the opportunity for better precipitation as the storm grazes our area. At this point, there is a fair bit of uncertainty with respect to the proximity of the storm and the location of precipitation, but weather forecast models agree the relatively warm temperatures from Sunday will stick around for Monday and Tuesday as well.

By Wednesday, cooler weather returns as the last storm moves into the Great Basin and brings more unsettled weather that will last for the rest of the work week and possibly into next weekend. Weather forecast models try to bring a ridge of high pressure that forms over the Gulf of Alaska inland, though they they disagree on exactly how that will happen. At some point around next weekend or the following work week, we may finally see the appearance of some spring-like days.

Start your ski day with toasty warm and dry boots! I use a boot dryer/warmer after every ski day, and the Happy Feet Dry-n-Warm boot dryer would be my choice if I ever had to replace my 30 year old and no-longer-manufactured look-alike. Just insert into your ski boots at the end of the day and leave them plugged in overnight. They become only slightly warmer than your body temperature so are safe to be plugged in for all footwear for days on end, though only overnight is needed for even the soggiest of liners. The ski boots are then thoroughly dry and toasty warm to start your next ski day!

A brief break in the weather before snowfall resumes Wednesday

Sunday, March 3, 2019

The current storm is winding down in Steamboat Springs this Sunday afternoon after leaving around 2 feet of snow at mid-mountain at the Steamboat Ski Area over the last two days. Our area will see a brief respite in the winter weather on Monday and Tuesday before a couple of Pacific storms brings snowfall back to our area by midweek that could last into next weekend.

Currently, bands of snow showers are expected to hang around near our area this afternoon and evening with another 1-4” of snow possible, depending on the location and persistence of the snow bands. Cooler air will continue to filter in through the overnight this Sunday as the snowfall moves south of our area, leading to a chilly start to Monday morning, especially if the skies clear.

The sun is expected to reappear on Monday and Tuesday as temperatures return to seasonable levels on Monday with further warming on Tuesday, even after another chilly start to the day as a dry cool front passes by Monday night.

Meanwhile, our next weather-maker is spinning well off the California coast underneath a persistent ridge of high pressure located over the Gulf of Alaska. Snow showers producing relatively heavy high-density snow could start as early Tuesday night as a lobe of energy and moisture is ejected out ahead of the storm with minimal accumulations by Wednesday morning.

Showers will intensify later Wednesday and overnight as temperatures rise, with rain or a rain-snow mix possible at the lower elevations, before temperatures cool by night time. Even after the cooling, the storm is not very cold, and 5-10” of relatively dense snow is possible by Thursday morning.

Trailing energy will likely keep snow showers going through the day Thursday and overnight, leading to another 2-5” of snow for the Friday morning report.

There may be a break in the weather for a time during Friday before another strong Pacific storm barrels into the Gulf of Alaska ridge and mixes with a cold storm that develops off the Pacific Northwest coast. Though I expect the details to change, some showers are currently expected to develop by late in the day Friday before moderate to sometimes heavy snowfall starts overnight into Saturday morning with significant accumulations possible.

Save your soles! You suspect that the grating and grinding sounds you hear from your ski boots as you walk across hard surfaces can’t be good. In fact, worn boot soles make your binding unsafe as it interferes with the boot-binding interface. Cat Tracks are a flexible protector that keeps your boot soles pristine, and adds a cushion for walking comfort. When it’s time to click into bindings, I take them off and stash them in my coat pocket. Yaktrax are similar, but I have not used them since they appear they would take up a bit more space in my jacket pocket. But you get a rocker sole that promotes a natural stride which may be worth the space sacrifice. If I did not have to carry them around all day, these would be my choice.

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