Thursday, September 24, 2020
Sunny skies and warm temperatures are over the Steamboat Springs area early this Thursday afternoon, with the weather staying warm and turning breezy on Friday and Saturday. A cool front on Sunday, perhaps accompanied by some afternoon showers, will then drop daytime temperatures and make Monday morning chilly enough where outdoor plants will need to be protected. We will then be sandwiched by hot air to our west and cold air to our east for the rest of the work week, with dry weather and seasonable temperatures the likely outcome for north-central Colorado.
The ridge of high pressure currently over the southern and central Rockies is forecast to be flattened by a strong Pacific jet stream moving across the Gulf of Alaska through the weekend. The jet stream will bring dry and increasing winds from the west, especially on Friday and Saturday, with temperatures staying more than ten degrees above our average high of 68 F on Friday before dropping several degrees by Saturday. Needless to say, this will not be good for wildfire behavior.
Weather forecast models agree that a cool front will move through our area on Sunday, though disagree on its strength and if there will associated moisture. It appears the disagreement is centered on how much cold air from the northern latitudes is tapped by the storm, with the European ECMWF trending toward a cooler and wetter solution as compared to the American GFS. At this point, I would expect a cooler Sunday with temperatures closer to or below average and the chance of afternoon showers around and behind the front.
Monday morning will likely bring temperatures cold enough for outside plants to need protection, but plenty of sun should warm daytime highs back to around the low-seventies.
Meanwhile, a large ridge of high pressure builds over the West Coast behind the front as a quite cold trough of low pressure forms over the Midwest. Our area will be between the two air masses, and though our weather may tilt to either the colder or warmer side depending upon the evolution of these features, it is likely that the beautiful weather consisting of cool nights (with outdoor plants still requiring overnight protection) and warm sunny days should continue for most of the work week.
Pacific energy moving over the top of the ridge of high pressure to our west is forecast to periodically bring dry cool fronts near our area at times after midweek, though there is a fair bit of uncertainty with respect to timing and proximity. At this point, other than the uncertain temperatures, dry weather through the following weekend looks likely. For what it is worth, longer-range weather forecast models do indicate the possibility of the western ridge of high pressure breaking down after next weekend.
Stay tuned for my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday for details about the cool front that day as well as well as a possible pattern change after the following weekend.