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Cool and wet weather to dominate the upcoming week

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Despite mostly cloudy skies, the Steamboat Springs area is currently seeing temperatures five to ten degrees above our average of 63 F this Thursday afternoon. But that changes tonight as the first in a series of Pacific storms brings cold air and showery precipitation back to the region that will last through Saturday. After a brief respite from the precipitation during the first half of Sunday, the unsettled weather could turn stormier with wet weather possible for almost every day in the following work week.

A broad area of low pressure over much of the northern Pacific will spawn a series of storms that will continue our active, wet and cool spring. Today will be the last day for a while with temperatures around 70 F as a storm currently crossing the West Coast heads inland. Breezy southwesterly winds ahead of the storm will turn westerly as the initial cold and showery front passes through the area tonight, followed by more cold air and eventual northwest flow through Saturday. Though accumulating snows will occur above 9000′ or so, snowflakes will be possible down to the Yampa Valley floor by later Friday into Saturday morning.

The cold and unsettled weather will persist through Saturday night as the storm passes near our area, though we will see some warming during the day. The resultant lifting snow levels during the daylight hours will quickly fall by nighttime, once again bringing the chance of snowflakes to the valley bottom.

By Sunday morning, a shallow and transitory ridge of high pressure builds behind the departing storm and in advance of our next more potent weather-maker. This storm is forecast to cross the West Coast mid-weekend and affect our area with more breezy showers ahead of the storm by later in the day Sunday.

This storm looks to be not quite as cold, but wetter than the preceding storm. The storm track is uncertain as another incoming storm crosses the West Coast early in the work week and moves southward across California. These two storms will behave like a see-saw as the leading storm near our area is forced northward by the southward-moving storm over California. And because the Pacific ocean has a paucity of meteorological observations, weather forecast models disagree on the southern extent of the California storm and the resultant northern extent of the storm moving over our area.

Generally, seasonably cool weather can be expected through most of the work week, with at least showers and possibly heavier, more persistent precipitation, depending on the evolution of the West Coast storm.

There is lots of forecast uncertainty heading into and for the Memorial Day weekend as it is not clear how far inland the next salvo of Pacific storms will reach.

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