Warming ahead of our next Monday powder day
Thursday, January 3, 2019
Though the Steamboat Springs area is enjoying its third cloudless day since the arctic intrusion on Monday, cold temperatures persist in the Yampa Valley as a stout temperature inversion has formed, where air is warmer at higher elevations. In fact, as of 12:45 pm today, the temperature at the base of the Steamboat Ski Area is 12 F while the mid-mountain temperature is 27 F.
Temperatures will continue to warm through Saturday along with mostly sunny skies, albeit more slowly at lower elevations, as a ridge of high pressure moves over the west. However, the ridge will keep moving eastward as our next Pacific storm begins affecting the West Coast on Saturday and our area on Sunday.
This next storm is interesting since it looks to mix with some subtropical moisture that is forced northward by a piece of our very cold New Year’s Day storm that was left behind over the central Pacific before sinking southward into the subtropics. This piece of the storm looks to linger down there, perhaps providing a source of moisture for additional upcoming storms.
But in the near term, the Pacific storm will spread moisture into our area on Sunday, likely starting snow showers by the afternoon. Snows should pick up later in the day and overnight as a cool front passes through the area before decreasing Monday morning.
There is a fair bit of uncertainty for snow amounts as dry air from the west-southwest behind the Pacific storm is forecast to sever the moisture tap over our area by Sunday night, and models disagree on the positioning and timing of this dry air intrusion. Furthermore, it appears the storm will weakly split for a time around Sunday night, further complicating the forecast. Right now, I would guess 5-10” for the Monday morning report.
West-northwest winds pick up behind the front by Monday morning, keeping light snows going through the day and possibly through the night along with windy conditions, with another 1-4” possible that would be reported Tuesday morning.
A ridge of high pressure is advertised to move over our area for Tuesday and Wednesday before the next Pacific storm is advertised for Thursday. This one currently looks to again mix with moisture from the subtropics as a piece of the old New Year’s Day storm continues to linger down there, so there is a possibility of another significant storm.
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