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.
Sunday, May 17, 2020
Summery weather is over the Steamboat Springs this Sunday with warm temperatures, partly sunny skies and rapidly greening (and yellowing, in the case of my dandelions) lower-elevation vegetation in the Yampa Valley. The warm temperatures will continue for Monday and Tuesday accompanied by windy conditions ahead of a mostly dry cool front for Wednesday. Pleasant and seasonable weather is expected for the end of the work week and heading into the weekend ahead of a possible round of unsettled weather.
Temperatures in Steamboat Springs are running several degrees above our average high of 64 F early this Sunday afternoon under mostly sunny skies, on their way into the mid-seventies as a ridge of high pressure sits over the Continental Divide.
The ridge of high pressure will be pushed eastward early in the work week by a strong storm currently just off the coast of northern California. Expect the warmest temperatures of the year so far, ten to fifteen degrees above average, along with windy to very windy southwesterly flow on Monday and southerly flow on Tuesday as the storm moves toward the Great Basin.
Due to the strength of the ridge of high pressure, the storm will be deflected to our north on Wednesday, but not before pushing a weak cool front through our area sometime during the day. There may be some showers as moisture that was carried northward in the earlier southerly flow is lifted by the front, but these would likely bring more wind than rain as the lower levels of the atmosphere are forecast to remain very dry.
The front will knock temperatures back towards average or even a bit below, perhaps by Wednesday if the front moves quickly enough, and certainly for Thursday.
Meanwhile a storm currently in the Gulf of Alaska is forecast to intensify as it mixes with some quite cold air from western Canada while traveling southward along the Vancouver and Pacific Northwest coasts. While temperatures will warm for our area in the southwesterly flow ahead of the storm for Friday and at least part of Saturday, there is considerable uncertainty in the forecast for the second half of the weekend.
The uncertainty is due to the degree of interaction between this new storm and the older midweek grazing storm that is forecast to occur over the Pacific Northwest. It does look like unsettled weather will return as some or all of the merged storms pass over our area, though the timing, strength and duration of what will eventually pass through are currently unknown. I’ll have a much better idea of what the weekend’s weather will be like by my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon.
Thursday, May 14, 2020
After a rain shower passed through early this Thursday morning, skies have cleared ahead of another round of showers expected for this afternoon and evening. Friday will be similar to today, after which the weather turns warmer and drier for the weekend, with hot, dry and windy weather forecast through the beginning of the next work week.
Currently, a weak front extends from a storm in the Pacific Northwest through the Great Basin and northern Colorado. Energy and moisture ejecting out ahead of the storm will bring rain showers this afternoon and evening, possibly extending into the overnight. As the storm moves across the northern Rockies tomorrow, showers will once again develop in the afternoon and evening, with some of them of moderate intensity due to the proximity of the parent storm that is then forecast to be in Wyoming.
The weather will clear in time for the weekend, about a day earlier than originally forecast in my weather narrative last Sunday afternoon. There may be some Saturday afternoon clouds as the sun cooks any remaining low-level moisture during the day, along with seasonable high temperatures within several degrees of our average high of 63 F.
A ridge of high pressure starts to build over the Rockies on Sunday ahead of a large and cold storm currently in the Gulf of Alaska that is forecast to cross the West Coast early in the work week. A spectacular day should be in store to end the weekend with sunny skies and temperatures in the seventies.
Along with continued well-above average temperatures in the seventies on Monday and Tuesday, winds will increase from the southwest and the air will become very dry as the West Coast storm crosses the coast early in the work week.
The large storm is forecast move across the Great Basin on Wednesday. It is expected that the ridge of high pressure will weaken over our area as it deflects the storm to our north, and after a dry start in our area on Wednesday, a weak cool front associated with the storm passes through and brings a chance of showers later in the day.
After midweek, and similar to the current storm, more incoming Pacific energy mixes with cold air from western Canada and forms a storm as it moves down the British Columbia coast. A complicated scenario may ensue as that storm is forecast to interact with the deflected midweek storm as well as additional incoming Pacific energy. So while is currently appears like the weather will be unsettled again for the end of the work week, stay tuned for my Sunday afternoon weather narrative for updates to that forecast.
Sunday, May 10, 2020
Sunny skies and early afternoon temperatures in the low sixties are observed this Mother’s Day in Steamboat Springs. A rainy day starts the work week tomorrow, with nicer weather returning for a couple of days. But unsettled weather returns around late Wednesday and lasts through Saturday, with at least one period of good rainfall expected sometime between Thursday night and Saturday.
Currently, a ridge of high pressure extending along the Rockies and through Alaska has brought the beautiful weekend weather, and high temperatures today should reach five degrees or so above our average of 61 F. But the ridge of high pressure is under attack by incoming Pacific storms from the west and cold air from the east.
Only a high latitude piece of the ridge forecast to be near the North Pole will survive the attack as a complicated weather pattern sets up over the Northwest through the week. A large and elongated area of storminess currently extending form the Gulf of Alaska southward will move eastward today, with the very southern warm piece moving across the Great Basin tonight and over our area on Monday.
Shower chances will be increasing starting very early Monday as the wave approaches, with the heaviest showers associated with possibly strong storms in the afternoon and evening in the unstable atmosphere behind the wave. Localized strong winds and periods of moderate to heavy rain, along with thunder and lightning are likely to be associated with these storms.
After an active Monday, the weather quiets for a few days as the Gulf of Alaska storm consolidates and moves eastward, mixing with the westward moving cold continental air mass over the Pacific Northwest by Tuesday night.
There is rather large uncertainty in the weather forecast models as to how this mixing occurs, as first discussed in my last weather narrative on Thursday. Though the European ECMWF has come around to the solution offered first by the American GFS, with unsettled weather lasting from Thursday through Saturday, the periods of heaviest rainfall vary between Thursday night and Saturday between the models, depending on when the most organized waves move over our area.
Nonetheless, after a wet start to the weekend, the weather models agree another storm develops in the Gulf of Alaska early in the weekend and approaches the middle of the West Coast by early in the work week. The southwesterly flow ahead of the storm will allow our weather to dry and warm starting on Sunday and lasting several days into the following work week. After that our weather will depend upon the fate of this storm, and I hope to have some clarity on that by my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon.
Thursday, May 7, 2020
Temperatures in the low fifties and stiff winds out of the west and northwest are observed in the Steamboat Springs area this Thursday afternoon behind last night’s dry cool front. The dry weather is forecast to last through Mother’s Day weekend as another couple of dry cool fronts move through our area on Saturday, followed by showery weather for Monday. These showers look to migrate to our north for a couple of days before returning to northern Colorado near the end of the work week.
Currently a sharp ridge of high pressure is located along the west coast of North America, along with a cold storm over the Hudson Bay area that will torment the Midwest and Northeast with cold weather this upcoming week. Energy moving southeastward along the east side of the ridge has and will mix with the cold air in eastern Canada as it grazes our area with cool fronts.
The first cool front last night has brought the cool and windy conditions today, with temperatures warming on a much-less-windy Friday toward our 61 F average. Another couple of cool fronts are forecast for early and late Saturday, though temperatures may end up being similar to Friday depending on the timing of the fronts.
After a cool start, Mother’s Day will see dry weather with warmer temperatures five to ten degrees above average ahead of a pattern change that will introduce showers to our area for Monday. Pieces of a large storm currently located in the Gulf of Alaska will undercut the ridge of high pressure along the west coast of north America, even as some cool air western Canada undercuts the ridge from the east.
The result of the complicated interactions between the ridge of high pressure and the different air masses undercutting it from the west and east will determine our weather for the upcoming work week. Right now, it appears the coldest air will stay to our north and east while showery weather for Monday results from the first surge of the Pacific air mass moving over our area.
An additional piece of the Gulf of Alaska storm will cross the West Coast on Tuesday and move across the Great Basin on Wednesday. Winds will turn to be from the southwest, warming temperatures and moving showers temporarily to our north.
But the showers return around Thursday or Friday as the Great Basin storm moves overhead. There is uncertainty in the weather forecast models with respect to the strength of the storm, and resultant duration and intensity of the end-of-week showers. The European ECMWF advertises a briefer showery period followed by a dry weekend, while the American GFS, in a change from the last few cycles, keeps the showery weather around through the weekend and beyond.
Considering the complicated pattern about to unfold, the disagreement is not surprising, and I hope to have more clarity by my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon.