Thursday, February 21, 2019
A large, cold and slow-moving storm currently over Nevada will cross the Great Basin over the next day and bring heavy snowfall to the Desert Southwest and southern Colorado. North-central Colorado, including the Steamboat Springs area, has seen warming temperatures this Thursday morning in advance of the storm, with the Storm Peak Lab at the top of Mt. Werner reporting 21 F at 11:20 MST, around twenty degrees warmer than the temperatures the last two days.
We will see a chance of light snow showers this afternoon and evening as moisture moves over our area in unstable southwest flow with little accumulation. Snow showers should pick up during the day Friday as the storm approaches the Continental Divide and eventually brings some weak but moist and unstable northwest flow to northern Colorado. Snowfall amounts for our area will be light as the the bulk of the snows will be to our south, but we could see 1-4” by Friday evening before showers taper off and end for another quite cold start to Saturday.
A trailing wave from the northwest brings another surge of cold air along with a chance of snow showers for Saturday afternoon and evening that will bring only light accumulations at best by another cold Sunday morning.
Meanwhile, a rebuilding ridge of high pressure in the Gulf of Alaska will be undercut by a strong Pacific jet stream early in the work week, and this will allow warmer air to cross the West Coast and penetrate inland. Additionally, some upstream Pacific energy is forecast to be diverted southward and form a strong storm well off the West Coast underneath the Gulf of Alaska ridge. This combination of westerly and southwesterly flow impinging on the West Coast will force the jet stream just to our north early in the work week, with the best precipitation likely to occur between the I-80 and I-90 interstate highways.
There is weather forecast model disagreement as to the strength and evolution of the storm underneath the Gulf of Alaska ridge, and this will affect whether a transient ridge of high pressure builds over the Great Basin around midweek. A stronger ridge of high pressure would keep precipitation to our north through the end of the work week, while a weaker ridge will allow for light to possibly moderate snow showers. For what it’s worth, as of this morning, models were trending towards the warmer and drier solution.
Regardless, the weather forecast models seem to agree that the storm under the Gulf of Alaska ridge will be forced inland sometime around next weekend, restarting this winter’s stormy weather pattern as we head into March.
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!