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Warm with increasing clouds ahead of a white Christmas

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Some morning clouds have given way to mostly sunny skies in Steamboat Springs this Sunday around noon, with the current temperature in town one degree above our average high of 27 F and the temperature at the top of the Steamboat Ski Area a balmy 37 F, accompanied by some breezy southwest winds.

The warm temperatures are a result of warm air being carried northeastward ahead of a large storm just off the northern California coast. The storm is expected to split tonight as additional Pacific energy approaches and forces the storm eastward on Monday and Tuesday. The evolution of this storm has varied within and between the weather forecast models over the last several days, making for an uncertain forecast. Right now, Monday looks similar to today, with Tuesday seeing increasingly thick cloud cover ahead of the storm in continued above normal temperatures. Snow showers are currently advertised to break out Tuesday evening, perhaps around midnight, with 1-4” of snow expected for the Christmas morning ski report as a cool front passes through.

Snow showers are expected to persist through Christmas Day into Thursday as additional Pacific energy interacts with the storm. Though generally of light intensity, there is a possibility of better snowfall for a time Wednesday afternoon and overnight as a wave of energy that is forecast to eject out of the storm may or may not pass close to our area. So there could be another 1-4” for the Thursday morning report.

A break in the unsettled weather is likely for later Thursday or Friday that extends through most of the upcoming weekend before significant weather forecast model disagreement appears. The American GFS want to keep the storm moving well to our south with a dry and cool forecast for the beginning of the next work week, while the European ECMWF hangs the storm far enough back to bring light snow chances back to our area. More details should be available by my next weather narrative on Thursday afternoon.

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