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Showers possible through some of the weekend

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Despite the partly cloudy skies this Thursday, the Steamboat Springs area is experiencing the warmest day of the year so far, with an early afternoon temperature of 72 F observed at the Bob Adams airport. Though we may see a shower this evening, good chances for some precipitation will be from Friday night through Saturday night before drier weather is forecast the following work week.

A ridge of high pressure over the West will be disrupted by several rounds of incoming Pacific energy and moisture over the next few days. Some moisture ahead of the first weak wave is currently responsible for our partly cloudy skies, and we may see a shower this evening as the wave passes overhead.

Another couple of waves are forecast to pass overhead on Friday and Saturday. Right now, it looks like after some sun and clouds on Friday, with cooler but still above average temperatures in the sixties, there may be some showers around in the afternoon or evening as the second still-weak wave passes passes by.

Our best chance for showers this weekend looks to occur on Saturday as the last slightly stronger wave passes by. While there may be some showers in the morning, they will be stronger and more numerous in the afternoon and overnight. Depending on the cloud cover, temperatures will be knocked back a few degrees from Friday.

But warmer temperatures in the sixties return on Sunday as a shallow ridge of high pressure builds behind the departing Pacific waves, though there may be a small chance of an afternoon or evening shower.

Monday looks to be similar to Sunday except dry. Weather forecast models disagree about another wave of Pacific energy Monday night and the strength of the ridge of high pressure over the West. Though both the European ECMWF and American GFS are dry, the more aggressive GFS has a weaker ridge and knocks temperatures back five or ten degrees for Tuesday.

Dry and warm is forecast for Wednesday as a ridge of high pressure continues or rebuilds over the West.

And similar to the Tuesday wave, the weather forecast models disagree on the strength of the western ridge of high pressure for the end of the work week. Each model follows its previous inclinations, with the American GFS bringing some Pacific energy and moisture through the ridge and the European ECMWF keeping that energy well away from our area. So there may be a possibility of some cooler air and showers to end the work week.

The weather for the following weekend will depend on the outcome of the battle between the western ridge of high pressure and incoming Pacific energy and moisture. More details to follow on my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon.

Weather turns warm and dry for the work week

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Rain showers in the Steamboat Springs area started around noon on this Sunday and are expected to persist into the evening, perhaps with a break later this afternoon. Other than a chance for some afternoon or early evening showers on Monday, dry weather is forecast through the work week, along with temperatures likely climbing into the seventies after Tuesday.

The southern end of a storm moving through the northern Rockies is stronger than originally forecast and is currently moving over our area. There is some clearing just entering western Colorado which may move over our area for a time later this afternoon, though short range weather forecast models insist that showers would redevelop and last into this evening.

Another northern Rockies storm will graze our area later Monday and is forecast to deepen over the Midwest later Tuesday. We should see mostly sunny skies on Monday with temperatures five to ten degrees above our average of 57 F, though there will be a chance of a late afternoon or early evening shower as a weak cool front approaches.

The cool front will keep Tuesday a bit cooler than Monday, though dry weather will arrive and persist through the rest of the work week. The big story will be the summery temperatures on Wednesday and Thursday under mostly sunny skies that will likely approach or exceed 70 F for the first time this year.

Another Pacific storm is forecast to travel across the northern Rockies on Friday, and a dry and weak cool front will graze our area and knock temperatures back several degrees.

There is some weather forecast model disagreement on exactly how a broad Pacific storm evolves as it crosses the West Coast late in the work week. While there will likely be some showers at some point during the weekend, it is not clear yet whether those will occur throughout the day or be confined to the afternoons of one or both days.

Weather improves after a cool and showery end to the work week

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Some showers passed through the Steamboat Springs area around noon on this Thursday ahead the Pacific Northwest storm currently on our doorstep. Rain showers at the lower elevations and snow showers at the higher elevations will continue through Friday and into Saturday before the atmosphere warms towards average and dries. While we may still see some showers on Sunday and possibly Monday, mostly dry skies are expected for the rest of the work week, with temperatures warming even further toward the seventies.

Rain showers, possibly with a rumble of thunder, should turn to snow showers by this evening, with accumulations confined to the higher elevations and perhaps some unpaved lower elevation surfaces. Showers will continue on Friday, tapering off during the day before picking up again Friday night as a trailing wave of energy passes over our area. Snowfall amounts could reach 4-8” at the top of Mt. Werner by Saturday morning (note the Powdercam is down for maintenance, so use the Rabbit Ears SNOTEL and Tower SNOTEL on Buffalo Pass for observations).

Showers should taper off on Saturday in the cool northwesterly flow behind the storm, with high temperatures warming to near our average high of 56 F. Winds will turn to be more from the west on Sunday with temperatures a bit above average, though there is a chance of some rain showers Sunday afternoon and evening as a weak disturbance passes overhead.

A ridge of high pressure eventually builds over the West by midweek for mostly dry skies, though Pacific energy traveling along the Canadian border will graze our area and keep temperatures near average for Monday and Tuesday, with some showers possible on Monday afternoon.

Temperatures are expected to warm on Wednesday under mostly sunny skies, and even more so on Thursday with the seventy degree mark likely reached or exceeded for the first time this year.

There is weather forecast model disagreement for the end of the work week and the following weekend with regards to incoming Pacific energy. The European ECMWF brings a dry cool front to our area around Friday, May Day, followed by a nice weekend and possible storminess afterwards. The American GFS hangs the energy back for a warmer Friday and still nice Saturday before bringing the storminess in for Sunday. I should have a better idea of what may happen by my next weather narrative scheduled for Sunday afternoon, but there is plenty of beautiful spring weather to enjoy next week while the weather forecast models resolve their differences.

Mostly seasonable weather for the week ahead except for possible snow on Thursday and Friday

Sunday, April 19, 2020

After a couple of tenths of an inch precipitation fell yesterday, with rain in town and a couple of inches of snow at the top of Mt. Werner, Steamboat Springs is seeing some sun and more normal temperatures early this Sunday afternoon. We’ll see seasonable weather for the first half of this work week with chances of showers this afternoon and evening and again later Tuesday ahead of a cold storm for Thursday and Friday that brings snow chances back to the Yampa Valley.

The current seasonable weather is expected through midweek, with the possibility of rain showers at lower elevations and snow showers at higher elevations later this afternoon and evening, along with a rumble of thunder, and again later Tuesday thanks to a couple of waves of Pacific energy and moisture traveling over and through a ridge of high pressure in the Gulf of Alaska. High temperatures should be around our average high of 55 F.

Around midweek, another couple of Pacific waves of energy and moisture traveling over that now weakening ridge of high pressure in the Gulf of Alaska are forecast to briefly mix with some cold air originally from the North Pole and bring the chance of snow back to our area for Thursday and Friday. There is uncertainty with the strength of the storm, though modest amounts of 4-8” up top and several inches in town are possible between Thursday morning and Friday night before the storm passes.

A ridge of high pressure tries to build over the West for the weekend for near average temepratures and what is currently looking like a precipitation-free Saturday, though more upstream Pacific energy will bring a small chance of some showers for Sunday and Monday.

A peek at the longer range weather forecast models shows a more substantial ridge of high pressure building over the West for the following work week. If this were to come to pass, we’ll see beautiful warm and sunny spring weather with temperatures likely approaching or even reaching the vaunted seventy degree mark for the first time this year.

Warmer but still unsettled weather on tap for the upcoming week

Thursday, April 16, 2020

It’s still snowing in Steamboat Springs early this Thursday afternoon, with a storm total since Tuesday night of about 10” in town and 12” up top as of 11 am this morning. Snows should become more showery and end this evening with warmer weather in our future for the upcoming week. However, after a day and a half of dry weather starting tomorrow, April showers will occur for the rest of the upcoming week, possibly punctuated with another cold storm for the end of the work week.

The oft cliched ‘Spring in the Rockies’ will be on full display for the upcoming week, as we transition from the cold and wet winter weather these last two days to sunny and warmer for Friday and part of Saturday to warm and showery for most of the upcoming week.

Our current snowfall is courtesy of the interaction between a cold front associated with a slow moving storm and the overhead jet stream. Snows were really going at times last night when snowfall rates reached 4.5” per hour for twenty minutes as 1.5” of snow was observed to have fallen on the Powdercam between 1:20 am and 1:40 am!

Showers will diminish this afternoon and evening before ending by midnight, though pay attention to the timestamp below the picture when viewing the snow stake at the top of Sunshine Peak as my last updated image is currently from 11 am this morning.

Skies should clear on Friday with a chilly start to the day as the fresh snow cover and light winds conspire with the clear skies to allow lots of surface heat to escape to space overnight. The cold air mass will hinder the warm-up on Friday and Saturday with high temperatures ten to fifteen degrees below our average high of 53 F on Friday and five to ten degrees below our average on Saturday.

Temperatures will continues to warm for Sunday and be around average for the rest of the work week as waves of Pacific energy and moisture undercut a ridge of high pressure in the Gulf of Alaska and stream over our area. This will bring the proverbial April showers to our area starting as soon as Saturday afternoon and lasting through most of the next work week. Weather forecast models do have different ideas on the timing and strength of these waves, though it appears the strongest in this series should be around Tuesday afternoon.

Though it is a week out, there is a possibility of another cool storm near the work week’s end as one of these waves of Pacific energy and moisture may be far enough north to mix with some cold air from western Canada. I hope to have a better idea of whether we will see snow in the Yampa Valley from this storm by my next weather narrative scheduled for Sunday afternoon.

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