Thursday, July 30, 2020
Mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the upper seventies are over Steamboat Springs early this Thursday afternoon. The weather forecast for the upcoming week is persistent with mostly sunny skies, daytime temperatures in the eighties and nighttime temperatures in the forties. Only meager chances for precipitation exist for the high country, and even there the storms will likely produce more wind than rain.
A ridge of high pressure over the Inter-mountain West is currently sandwiched between elongated areas of low pressure in the Gulf of Alaska and the Midwest. Storms from the Gulf of Alaska will periodically travel over the ridge of high pressure and down its eastern side, confining the interesting weather to the eastern side of the Continental Divide.
The storms will be close enough to our area, however, to produce breezy afternoon and early evening conditions at times through the weekend. Additionally, there will be a small chance of some high elevation showers, but these would likely produce more wind than rain as most of the precipitation will evaporate in the very dry atmosphere before reaching the ground.
Other than that, expect hot temperatures with highs around five degrees above our average of 82 F and comfortably cool nights with lows within about five degrees of our average of 46 F. Incidentally, I now see the first decline in our average daily temperature this season, available on the SnowAlarm home page under the Local Temperatures, Winds & Precipitation heading, indicting the average hottest part of the summer is behind us.
By early in the work week, one of the storms from the Gulf of Alaska will be strong enough to deform the ridge of high pressure, bringing more dry air and breezy westerly winds by Tuesday, along with the elimination of the small shower chances over the high country for several days.
The ridge of high pressure then rebounds over our area before being pushed to our east, with the location of the ridge determining whether we see the return of some monsoonal moisture. As of now, there is some loose agreement among the weather forecast models that we will have a chance of showers returning just before or during the following weekend.
I’ll know more about this possibility by the time my next regularly scheduled weather narrative is penned on Sunday afternoon.
Sunday, July 26, 2020
Steamboat Springs has reclaimed its usual sunny morning on this Sunday, with a small chance for some showers later today. Another mostly dry day is forecast for Monday ahead of a good chance for wetting rains on Tuesday. The weather pattern then shifts to warmer and drier weather starting midweek.
We saw a far more dreary Saturday morning than I expected in my Thursday forecast, thanks to the drier air taking a half-day longer to arrive. The drier air and more stable atmosphere here now are due to more westerly flow associated with a storm traveling across the Canadian Plains, so we’ll see only a small chance for showers both later today and later Monday.
An area of low pressure currently just west of California will be pushed across the Great Basin tomorrow by a strong storm forecast to develop in the Gulf of Alaska. The southerly flow ahead of the storm will increase the atmospheric moisture again, and that moisture will combine with the upward motion associated with the storm to produce a good chance of wetting rains for most of Tuesday. Expect cool temperatures ten degrees or so below our average high of 82 F.
The flow switches from the south on Tuesday to the west and eventually the northwest by Wednesday behind the storm. Much drier air is forecast over our area by then, with only a small chance of afternoon showers in the somewhat unstable northwest flow.
Additionally, the summertime ridge of high pressure reforms over the Great Basin, which brings very dry air, almost no chance for precipitation and hot temperatures five to ten degrees above average over our area starting Thursday and likely extending through next weekend.
There may be a chance for moisture to return sometime later in the following week, though there is not a strong signal in the longer range weather forecast models. I’ll have a better idea about that by my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon.
Thursday, July 23, 2020
The North American Monsoon has finally arrived in Steamboat Springs, with showers both yesterday and early this Thursday afternoon. These showers will be around for most days this upcoming week before we see some drying by mid-next week just behind a likely wet Tuesday.
I saw two tenths of rain at my house near the base of the Steamboat Ski Area yesterday, and another two tenths from the shower early this afternoon. We may see another shower by sunset, with a break before more showers overnight.
A weak and ill-defined area of energy either from a broad area of low pressure to our west or embedded within the monsoonal flow from the south will move over our area on Friday. So look for a fair bit of activity with showers throughout the day, possibly most numerous in the morning.
Behind the departing wave of energy, the weather looks to briefly dry for a much reduced chance of showers on Saturday. More waves of energy embedded in the monsoonal flow will move across portions of Colorado over the weekend, though there is weather forecast model uncertainty with respect to the timing, location and strength. My best guess right now is a mostly dry Saturday, perhaps with some showers overnight and again Sunday afternoon.
Showers look to continue on Monday ahead of a good chance of more substantial rains on Tuesday as the broad area of low pressure off the West Coast moves inland and across the Great Basin ahead of a powerful storm forecast to develop in the Gulf of Alaska.
Our atmosphere is forecast to dry for Wednesday and Thursday as the monsoonal plume of moisture from the south is temporarily severed behind the passing storm. Along with the drying, expect our high temperatures to return to five degrees or so above our average of 82 F as the reduced cloud cover allow our daytime temperatures to rise.
The moisture looks to return by the end of next work work week, though there is weather forecast model uncertainty with respect to how long it stays around. I’ll know more about that, as well as updating the wet early work week forecast on my next regular weather narrative scheduled for Sunday afternoon.
Sunday, July 19, 2020
The Steamboat Springs area has seen another sunny morning with noontime temperatures in the low eighties on this Sunday. We’ll see some low-end shower chances this afternoon before early work week drying precedes a good chance of wetting rains starting on Wednesday and extending through the following weekend.
Though we may see a shower or two near our area this afternoon and early evening, the most noticeable effect if they are close or overhead would be relief from the hot temperatures five degrees or so above our average of 82 F. Incidentally, this average, available on the SnowAlarm home page under the Local Temperatures, Winds & Precipitation heading, has topped out indicating we are in the hottest part of the summer.
As discussed in the last forecast on Thursday, storms to our north are periodically interrupting the monsoonal moisture flow from the south, with one such storm moving across northern Montana tonight. So after a chance of showers this afternoon, most likely at the higher elevations and with more wind than rain, Monday and likely Tuesday stays dry with westerly flow over our area.
But the chance for the eagerly awaited monsoonal rains increases starting on Wednesday as a series of storms moving through the Gulf of Alaska split, with the southern parts of the split leaving an area of low pressure off the West Coast. Pieces of energy from this low pressure area to our west as well as weak and hard to time areas of energy embedded within the monsoonal flow from the south will conspire to produce our best chances for rains so far this summer.
Weather forecast models agree that we will see some wetting rains Wednesday afternoon and overnight as an ill-defined area of energy either from the west or within the moist southerly flow passes nearby. There will also be chances for showers for the following days, though chances decrease and become more confined to the afternoon or early evening. Regardless of whether we see rain and the amounts, it does appear that afternoon clouds will be numerous and temper the above average temperatures of late, though the cool overnight lows will likely increase in response to the insulating effects of a wetter atmosphere.
There is currently a good chance of a robust surge of moisture forecast over our area sometime around next weekend or early during the next work week, though weather forecast models are not consistent with the timing, either among themselves or each other. And the longer range models also disagree on whether the increased moisture hangs around for the rest of the month. I hope to have more details about this cooler and wetter pattern for my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon.
Thursday, July 16, 2020
Partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the low eighties are observed in Steamboat Springs early this Thursday afternoon. Shower chances will come and go during the upcoming week as monsoonal moisture from the south is intermittently interrupted by passing storms to our north.
Some moisture is now over our area as a result of southerly flow on the west side of a flat ridge of high pressure over the southern half of the U.S. Though areas to our south will be favored for rains, there may be enough moisture for some afternoon and evening showers both today and Friday. Since the lower levels of the atmosphere are quite dry, these showers will likely produce more wind than rain.
This moist flow from the south will be interrupted several times this upcoming week as storms to our north shift our winds to be more from the drier west. Right now, it looks like the atmosphere will dry out on Saturday as a storm moves to our north before shower chances return for Sunday.
Another storm to our north might dry things out for Monday and Tuesday before flow from the south briefly resumes around midweek for another day or two of increased shower chances.
Meanwhile, a storm is forecast to move across the Pacific Northwest late in the work week, and there may be enough southerly flow ahead of the storm to force a healthy plume of monsoonal moisture northward across Arizona. We should see some drying for the end of the work week before that monsoonal moisture plume is forecast to be bent eastward as the storm moves eastward, increasing the chance of showers again over our area around the following weekend.
So generally normal summer weather for the upcoming week, with the specifics dependent upon the outcome of the battle between the southern ridge of high pressure and the northern storms. Hopefully we can get some rain before my next weather narrative scheduled for Sunday afternoon.