Quiet and cold weather with warming starting midweek

Sunday, December 15, 2019

The long-duration and well advertised snows have ended over the Steamboat Springs area this Sunday morning, with the Steamboat Ski Resort reporting three day totals of 22.5” of snow at mid-mountain and 27” up top. Cold temperatures are now observed behind the storm and are expected to last for the next couple of days before we see warming, first at the higher elevations, by later Tuesday and Wednesday. And other than some light snow showers during the day Monday and possibly on Thursday, quiet weather is expected through the upcoming week before the next possibly significant storm approaches the West Coast around late next weekend.

Colder overnight temperatures than recently observed were right at our average of 5 F this Sunday morning, with high temperatures over the next few days staying ten degrees or so below our average of 27 F thanks to the cold air mass behind the storm, fresh snow cover and low sun angle.

After a precipitation-free and partly sunny day today, a trailing and weak wave of energy and moisture will move over our area during the day Monday. Some light snow showers are possible at the higher elevations, possibly leaving several inches of snow during the day that would be reported Tuesday morning.

A ridge of high pressure then moves over our area for Tuesday and Wednesday, bringing plenty of sun and warming, first noted at the higher elevations. Mornings in the Yampa Valley will stay chilly with low temperatures around zero as the clear nights, light winds and fresh snow cover allow the ground to efficiently cool, and sets the stage for early-day temperature inversions, where the air is actually warmer higher up on the hill than it is in town.

The ridge will keep moving eastward thanks to a moisture-starved storm that will cross the central West Coast on Wednesday and move over our area on Thursday. At this point, not much more than some clouds and cooler daytime temperatures are expected before a stronger and longer-lasting ridge of high pressure builds over the Rocky Mountains for Friday and the weekend.

So, much of the Rocky Mountain region should see a beautiful and warm Friday extending through the following weekend. This looks to last into at least part of the following Monday before there is considerable uncertainty with respect to the next storm forecast to affect the West Coast around then. The weather forecast models indicate some sort of splitting storm, though the severity of the split and how additional upstream energy are handled is unknown at this time. I hope to have a better idea how this may affect our Christmas Eve day and Christmas by my next weather narrative on Thursday afternoon.

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