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Dry with warming through the weekend

Thursday, December 19, 2019

The weather will stay dry in Steamboat Springs with continued warming through the Winter Solstice weekend, which occurs at 9:19 pm on Saturday and makes that night the longest of the year. Warm and pleasant weather will last through Monday before several waves of Pacific energy and moisture turn our weather unsettled starting around Tuesday, Christmas Eve day.

After a relatively warmer morning in town with a low temperature of 2 F this Thursday, just two degrees below average, an anemic and moisture-starved wave will pass over the Rocky mountains today, barely bringing even clouds to our area. However, some cool air associated with the wave will keep temperatures in check today and create another chilly morning in the Yampa Valley for Friday. But warming commences during the day and increases through the weekend and into Monday under mostly sunny skies as a ridge of high pressure builds over the West ahead of a Pacific storm expected to affect California late Saturday and Sunday.

The evolution of this storm has not been well-forecast so far, with a lot of inconsistencies both between and within successive weather forecast model prognoses. This is not unusual with storms off the West Coast that will be affected by additional upstream Pacific energy and are forecast to mix, to some degree, with cold air from western Canada. The differences arise from not only the paucity of data over the Pacific Ocean, but also how the weather forecast models incorporate those data.

This is a long way of saying that there is considerable uncertainty in the timing and strength of storms passing over our area as soon as Tuesday, Christmas Eve day. There is a lot of time for the weather forecast models to iron out their differences by my next weather narrative on Sunday afternoon, but currently the storm is expected to undergo some sort of split by the end of the weekend even as additional Pacific energy rounds the base of the storm.

Clouds will increase later Monday into Tuesday as moisture is drawn northward over our area in southwest flow ahead of the storm. Snow showers are currently advertised to break out during the day Tuesday and last overnight before ending by Christmas as a cool front passes through.

After a likely break on Thursday, another couple of storms are forecast for around the Thursday/Friday and Saturday/Sunday time frames, though their speed and track are too uncertain for a forecast at this time. Check back for my next weather narrative on Sunday afternoon for more details.

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