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Unsettled weather for the week ahead

Sunday, March 8, 2020

The Steamboat Springs area has seen some sun and clouds this Sunday, along with some raindrops below 8000′ and some snowflakes above. The weather today may be similar to the weather for the rest of the upcoming week, with some storms near our area that will provide for a fair bit of clouds but limited accumulating precipitation.

Currently, a weak wave that is passing over our area will allow showers to continue overnight. The best accumulations will be at the highest elevations to our north, but 1-4” of fairly dense snow is forecast by mid-morning Monday, with showers tapering off during the day and yielding to periods of sun, especially at the lower elevations.

Meanwhile, the southern branch of a split storm has formed an eddy off the California coast while the northern part of the split storm moves across the northern Rockies and grazes our area later Tuesday. After a partly cloudy start to the day. showers will increase again through Tuesday afternoon and evening with several inches possible by the Wednesday morning report.

Another Pacific storm moving through the Gulf of Alaska on Tuesday will encourage the California eddy to move eastward towards the Desert Southwest, though still slowly and unpredictably. The Gulf of Alaska storm will graze our area on later on Wednesday into Thursday, and may force the storm eddy to our southwest to eject some energy and moisture over our area. so there is a chance of some still-warm precipitation around then.

At this point, later Thursday into Friday is looking dry with some clouds and sun behind the storm to our north and ahead of the storm to our southwest.

A much stronger and colder storm is forecast to develop over the Gulf of Alaska on Thursday, move southward along the West Coast on Friday, and give the southwestern storm the boot. While the southwestern eddy will likely bring copious precipitation to southern Colorado and at least the southern part of the Front Range and Colorado plains around Friday, our area will be on the northern fringe of the storm, so expect more unsettled weather with some sun, clouds and showers for Friday.

More unsettled weather is expected for the weekend behind that storm as it moves east and ahead of the Gulf of Alaska storm which is forecast to be along the central California coast by mid-weekend. There is uncertainty in the eventual track and strength of this storm as it will be influenced by another possible cold Gulf of Alaska storm, but weather forecast models agree that we have a chance for wintry weather during the following work week.

Spring fever ahead of unsettled weather starting Sunday

Thursday, March 5, 2020

A gorgeous warm and sunny day is in store for the Steamboat Springs area this Thursday, with that weather continuing through most of Saturday. By Sunday, several warm storms will increase precipitation chances through midweek, with our most significant precipitation starting around Wednesday and lasting into Thursday. Drier weather is then forecast for the end of the work week and heading into the following weekend.

A storm off the West Coast has forced a ridge of high pressure to form over the Rocky Mountains, bringing warm temperatures and sunny skies that are expected to last through at least part of Saturday.

The West Coast storm is forecast to elongate and weakly split along the coast on Saturday as another storm just upstream moves through the Gulf of Alaska. The northern part of the storm brings increasing clouds to our area by later in the day Saturday or early Sunday, though low-intensity precipitation will wait until later Sunday into Monday when the southern part of the storm moves across our region after incorporating some subtropical moisture. I’ll have a better idea of how much snow will fall from this storm by my next weather narrative scheduled for Sunday, but 2-5” of snow between Sunday and Monday afternoons is possible.

Meanwhile, the next storm is forecast to also split along the West Coast as it moves out of the Gulf of Alaska on Sunday. Waves of energy and moisture ejecting out of the southern part of the split and the proximity of the northern part of the split will keep unsettled weather weather around from Monday night through Tuesday night with small accumulations possible.

The southern part of the split storm is then forecast to shear to some degree as it moves over our area on Wednesday into Thursday. We’ll probably have our best snowfall during this time frame, though weather forecast models are struggling with the timing and evolution of this part of the storm, so changes in the weather forecast are likely.

Drier weather is forecast to return for the end of the work week and heading into the following weekend, with a much stronger and colder Pacific storm forecast to possibly affect our weather as soon as mid-weekend. We have lots of weather to get through before focus turns to that, though.

Some snow tonight and Monday followed by a dry work week

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Steamboat Springs saw a high temperature of 39 F just after this Sunday noon, which is two degrees above our average for the day, before a shower moved through and dropped around an inch of snow on top of Mt. Werner. Intermittent snow showers will continue tonight and Monday as a storm splits around our area before the weather dries for the work week. Much warmer temperatures are expected for Friday and likely part of the weekend before precipitation chances return.

Currently, the southern part of a Pacific storm that split yesterday is spinning off the California coast while the northern part is racing eastward across the southern Canadian Plains. Our area usually does not fare too well from these types of storms as we are left between the active weather to our north and south.

Nevertheless, a diffuse cool front is forecast to move through our area around midnight, and we may see up to several inches of snow by the Monday morning report, along with another inch or two possible during the day as intermittent showers occur behind the front.

We should see periods of sun and clouds through the most of the rest of the work week as a couple of fairly dry Pacific storms pass to our north.

Meanwhile, a strong storm develops in the Gulf of Alaska by midweek as a Pacific storm mixes with some cold Siberian air. The storm is forecast to move southward along the West coast and force a ridge of high pressure over the Rocky Mountains on Friday for a noticeably warm and sunny spring-feeling day.

The West Coast storm is kept moving by another incoming Pacific storm, with the West Coast storm forecast to weaken considerably as it moves inland and battles the Rocky Mountain ridge of high pressure over the weekend. There is disagreement among the weather forecast models on when what is left of the West Coast storm passes through our area, and whether the storm is able to incorporate any subtropical moisture, but there are increasing chances for precipitation by mid-weekend with better chances by the end of the weekend.

Light snow tonight followed by a nice couple of days

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

After another cold day in Steamboat Springs this Thursday, light snow will fall tonight into Thursday morning before we see a storm-free and pleasant Friday and Saturday. A couple more Pacific storms will turn the weather unsettled from Sunday through midweek before a longer dry period may commence as we head into the following weekend.

A weak Pacific storm that rode over a ridge of high pressure over the West Coast will graze our area tonight into Thursday morning. The strength of the ridge means our accumulations will be quite modest, with light intensity snow starting around midnight and continuing through the early morning. I would expect 1-4” of snow from the storm, with some of that before the morning report and some after.

We will likely see some sun tomorrow behind this small storm, especially down in the Yampa Valley. But much warmer and drier weather is forecast for Friday and Saturday as the ridge of high pressure is forced eastward over our area by another storm forecast to develop over the Gulf of Alaska on Friday.

This Pacific storm is forecast to strongly split as it crosses the West Coast on Saturday with weather forecast models unsurprisingly disagreeing on the amount of energy partitioned between the northern and southern parts of the storm. So while snowfall amounts are uncertain, it does appear that snows could start late Saturday night or early Sunday morning and continue intermittently through the day. Some sort of cool front does look to pass through or linger over our area around Sunday night, and snowfall amounts will depend upon the eventual strength and movement of this front.

Periods of snow look to continue through the day Monday before ending from Monday night through some of Tuesday. A smaller but more organized, and possibly more favorable storm for our area, crosses the Pacific Northwest coast early on Tuesday and is forecast to begin snows over our area around Tuesday night. We should see cold temperatures and snow for Wednesday, with drier but still cold temperatures hanging around for Thursday.

A ridge of high pressure is forecast for the end of that work week for warming temperatures heading into the weekend.

Warm snow today followed by cold snow on Monday

Sunday, February 23, 2020

The Steamboat Springs area is currently seeing some dense and very light intensity snowfall this Sunday noon with the temperature in town right at freezing and the temperature at the top of Mt. Werner 21 F. The storm from the southwest bringing the snow is departing, moved along by a much colder storm from the Pacific Northwest that will bring modest snowfall and unseasonably cold temperatures for Monday and Tuesday. There are good chances for more snow Wednesday night into Thursday even as temperatures rise before the weather dries and warms further heading into next weekend.

The Steamboat Ski area received an inch of snow early this morning from the warm storm that moved over the Desert Southwest yesterday. We could see another inch or two today as the storm departs that would be reported on the Monday morning ski report.

Following closely is a much colder storm currently crossing the Pacific Northwest coast. A cold front will pass through our area early Monday morning, likely around report time, bringing a quick inch or so of snowfall. Winds will swing around to be from the northwest and low-density snows will increase in the cold and unstable air mass through the afternoon, leaving 2-5” of accumulations by sunset.

Snows will continue overnight and through early Tuesday evening as they taper off during the day. With the expected 2-5” of snow overnight Monday, there could be as much as 4-10” of snow for the Tuesday morning report, with another 1-4” falling during the day. Temperatures will be quite cold, with high temperatures at the top of the hill struggling to reach the middle single digits on Tuesday before falling to below zero for Wednesday morning. And temperatures in town will be colder still for the Wednesday morning low if skies clear.

Meanwhile, a ridge of high pressure is forecast to build over the Gulf of Alaska on Monday and cross the West Coast on Tuesday. So we may see some sun after the cold start to Wednesday morning with warming occurring later in the day, especially at the higher elevations, as the ridge of high pressure approaches. However, Pacific energy and moisture riding over the top of the ridge will graze our area from Wednesday night through Thursday, bringing another chance of modest accumulations to the mountains.

At one point, it looked like another chance of snow for Thursday night, though latest weather forecast models have trended stronger with the ridge. With very cold air forecast to cover the eastern two thirds of the continent, there is still a chance that Pacific energy will mix with that cold air and move closer to our area, and with that in mind I’ll likely be moving my usual Thursday afternoon weather narrative to Wednesday afternoon in order to provide more details on snow amounts for Thursday and the possibility of a trailing storm for Thursday night.

In any case, the ridge of high pressure prevails for Friday and Saturday bringing a beautiful, warm and spring-like start to the weekend. However, there are additional Pacific storms lined up that could bring precipitation back to our area as soon as Sunday and continuing into the next week.

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