Storms for later Friday and later next week
Thursday, March 12, 2020
After a couple of tenths of an inch of rain fell near the base of the Steamboat Ski Area overnight, and 3” of snow near the top, skies are trying to clear this Thursday noon ahead of our next warm storm forecast from around noon on Friday into Saturday. Contrary to earlier expectations, the next significant storm for the Steamboat Springs area may wait until after mid-next week with warm and relatively quiet weather until then.
The weak cool front that grazed our area last night was not as productive as one of the short-term weather forecast model indicated yesterday afternoon, though the 2.5” at mid-mountain was in line with the others. Clearer skies are upstream and should be over our area this afternoon for some sun ahead of the next storm starting Friday.
This storm is currently located just off the southernmost coast of California and is forecast to be forced eastward across the Desert Southwest tonight by a large and cold storm moving southward along the West Coast from the Gulf of Alaska. The Desert Southwest storm is forecast to move across the Great Basin early Friday and over our area Friday afternoon. This is another warm storm that will begin as rain at the base and snow around mid-mountain starting around noon on Friday. The precipitation should come in bursts to start with dense snowfall rates over an inch per hour at times through the afternoon and evening. The storm passes over our area around midnight at which point we should see marginally cooler temperatures and somewhat lighter density snow in the westerly flow on the backside of the storm.
My current guess is 4-8” of snow by the Saturday morning report, some of which would have fallen the previous day. Showers look likely to continue through the day with another inch or two possible before drier air moves over our area later in the day.
What looked like an unsettled period ahead of a major storm early next work week has turned into a much drier and warmer forecast from Sunday through Wednesday as the Gulf of Alaska storm maintains its position off the West Coast, even as it moves southward. While this is good news for precipitation in California, it means much quieter weather for our area as the storm remains well to our west.
I would not be surprised for the timing to slow again by my next regularly scheduled forecast on Sunday afternoon, but right now the storm is forecast to take a similar track to the storm for tomorrow as it is forced eastward by another incoming Pacific storm. This would bring precipitation back to our area starting around Thursday and lasting into the following weekend.
Unsettled weather for the week ahead
Sunday, March 8, 2020
The Steamboat Springs area has seen some sun and clouds this Sunday, along with some raindrops below 8000′ and some snowflakes above. The weather today may be similar to the weather for the rest of the upcoming week, with some storms near our area that will provide for a fair bit of clouds but limited accumulating precipitation.
Currently, a weak wave that is passing over our area will allow showers to continue overnight. The best accumulations will be at the highest elevations to our north, but 1-4” of fairly dense snow is forecast by mid-morning Monday, with showers tapering off during the day and yielding to periods of sun, especially at the lower elevations.
Meanwhile, the southern branch of a split storm has formed an eddy off the California coast while the northern part of the split storm moves across the northern Rockies and grazes our area later Tuesday. After a partly cloudy start to the day. showers will increase again through Tuesday afternoon and evening with several inches possible by the Wednesday morning report.
Another Pacific storm moving through the Gulf of Alaska on Tuesday will encourage the California eddy to move eastward towards the Desert Southwest, though still slowly and unpredictably. The Gulf of Alaska storm will graze our area on later on Wednesday into Thursday, and may force the storm eddy to our southwest to eject some energy and moisture over our area. so there is a chance of some still-warm precipitation around then.
At this point, later Thursday into Friday is looking dry with some clouds and sun behind the storm to our north and ahead of the storm to our southwest.
A much stronger and colder storm is forecast to develop over the Gulf of Alaska on Thursday, move southward along the West Coast on Friday, and give the southwestern storm the boot. While the southwestern eddy will likely bring copious precipitation to southern Colorado and at least the southern part of the Front Range and Colorado plains around Friday, our area will be on the northern fringe of the storm, so expect more unsettled weather with some sun, clouds and showers for Friday.
More unsettled weather is expected for the weekend behind that storm as it moves east and ahead of the Gulf of Alaska storm which is forecast to be along the central California coast by mid-weekend. There is uncertainty in the eventual track and strength of this storm as it will be influenced by another possible cold Gulf of Alaska storm, but weather forecast models agree that we have a chance for wintry weather during the following work week.
Spring fever ahead of unsettled weather starting Sunday
Thursday, March 5, 2020
A gorgeous warm and sunny day is in store for the Steamboat Springs area this Thursday, with that weather continuing through most of Saturday. By Sunday, several warm storms will increase precipitation chances through midweek, with our most significant precipitation starting around Wednesday and lasting into Thursday. Drier weather is then forecast for the end of the work week and heading into the following weekend.
A storm off the West Coast has forced a ridge of high pressure to form over the Rocky Mountains, bringing warm temperatures and sunny skies that are expected to last through at least part of Saturday.
The West Coast storm is forecast to elongate and weakly split along the coast on Saturday as another storm just upstream moves through the Gulf of Alaska. The northern part of the storm brings increasing clouds to our area by later in the day Saturday or early Sunday, though low-intensity precipitation will wait until later Sunday into Monday when the southern part of the storm moves across our region after incorporating some subtropical moisture. I’ll have a better idea of how much snow will fall from this storm by my next weather narrative scheduled for Sunday, but 2-5” of snow between Sunday and Monday afternoons is possible.
Meanwhile, the next storm is forecast to also split along the West Coast as it moves out of the Gulf of Alaska on Sunday. Waves of energy and moisture ejecting out of the southern part of the split and the proximity of the northern part of the split will keep unsettled weather weather around from Monday night through Tuesday night with small accumulations possible.
The southern part of the split storm is then forecast to shear to some degree as it moves over our area on Wednesday into Thursday. We’ll probably have our best snowfall during this time frame, though weather forecast models are struggling with the timing and evolution of this part of the storm, so changes in the weather forecast are likely.
Drier weather is forecast to return for the end of the work week and heading into the following weekend, with a much stronger and colder Pacific storm forecast to possibly affect our weather as soon as mid-weekend. We have lots of weather to get through before focus turns to that, though.
Some snow tonight and Monday followed by a dry work week
Sunday, March 1, 2020
Steamboat Springs saw a high temperature of 39 F just after this Sunday noon, which is two degrees above our average for the day, before a shower moved through and dropped around an inch of snow on top of Mt. Werner. Intermittent snow showers will continue tonight and Monday as a storm splits around our area before the weather dries for the work week. Much warmer temperatures are expected for Friday and likely part of the weekend before precipitation chances return.
Currently, the southern part of a Pacific storm that split yesterday is spinning off the California coast while the northern part is racing eastward across the southern Canadian Plains. Our area usually does not fare too well from these types of storms as we are left between the active weather to our north and south.
Nevertheless, a diffuse cool front is forecast to move through our area around midnight, and we may see up to several inches of snow by the Monday morning report, along with another inch or two possible during the day as intermittent showers occur behind the front.
We should see periods of sun and clouds through the most of the rest of the work week as a couple of fairly dry Pacific storms pass to our north.
Meanwhile, a strong storm develops in the Gulf of Alaska by midweek as a Pacific storm mixes with some cold Siberian air. The storm is forecast to move southward along the West coast and force a ridge of high pressure over the Rocky Mountains on Friday for a noticeably warm and sunny spring-feeling day.
The West Coast storm is kept moving by another incoming Pacific storm, with the West Coast storm forecast to weaken considerably as it moves inland and battles the Rocky Mountain ridge of high pressure over the weekend. There is disagreement among the weather forecast models on when what is left of the West Coast storm passes through our area, and whether the storm is able to incorporate any subtropical moisture, but there are increasing chances for precipitation by mid-weekend with better chances by the end of the weekend.