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Weather deteriorates on Memorial Day weekend after a nice start

Thursday, May 21, 2020

The Steamboat Springs area is seeing a beautiful sunny, cool and breezy late spring day this Thursday afternoon. We’ll see another couple of nice days heading into the Memorial Day weekend, but enjoy them as the weather turns colder and unsettled for the last two days of the long holiday weekend. More summery weather is then forecast to return for the last week of May.

There are currently ridges of high pressure over the Gulf of Alaska and Great Lakes, with a large trough of low pressure extending from the Desert Southwest to almost the North Pole. Cold air from the north has moved southward in the northerly to northwesterly flow within the trough, as reflected by our current mid-afternoon temperature of 60 F, which is five degrees below average.

Temperatures will warm under sunny skies for Friday and part of Saturday towards or a bit above average before three cold storms approach our area from Saturday night through Monday. So after pleasant weather for most of Saturday, the first storm grazes our area to the north and brings a cool front through Saturday night. Though clouds will increase, possibly as early as Saturday afternoon, showers currently look to stay north of the Yampa Valley and closer to the Wyoming border.

The next cold storm is forecast to pass through our area early in the day Sunday, followed by another cold storm for Memorial Day. At this point high temperatures for both days look to be ten to fifteen degrees below average, with showers possible through most of the day Sunday and at least Monday afternoon. While I don’t think we will see snowflakes in town, there may be snowflakes down to 9000′ or even 8000′ and an inch or two of accumulations at the top of Mt. Werner over these two days.

Meanwhile, the Pacific jet stream is forecast to penetrate inland across the northern Rockies during the weekend and cut off the cold air flowing into these storms from the north. While I cannot promise bluebird skies, much warmer weather with average or a bit above average temperatures return on Tuesday and lasts through the remainder of the work week.

Additionally, while midweek will be dry, a chance of showers may return near the end of the work week and headed into the following weekend as a storm to our north grazes our area. Stay tuned for my next weather narrative, scheduled for a possibly gloomy Sunday afternoon, for more details on not only the weather for Memorial Day but the following weekend.

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