Modest storm on Saturday with major storm possible midweek

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Temperatures have warmed considerably in Steamboat Springs late this Thursday morning compared to the last few days with 33 F reported at the Bob Adams Airport and 28 F at the top of Mt. Werner. Warm and dry weather is expected for today and tomorrow before a quick-moving storm brings 4-8” of snow from Friday night though Saturday night. Warm and dry weather returns for Sunday and lasts until a possibly large, cold, wet and complex storm affects our area starting around midweek.

Some eye-popping totals have been reported by the California resorts this morning, with a standout of 45” in the past 24 hours at Mammoth Mountain! That storm is being forced eastward by another storm currently over the Aleutian Islands, with the remnants crossing the southern Great Basin and moving over our area from Friday night through Saturday night. Winds from the southwest ahead of the storm have brought much warmer temperatures to our area today and will for tomorrow as well.

While we will see a mix of sun and clouds over the next two days, winds from the southwest will become breezy and clouds will increase in earnest later Friday before snowfall begins Friday night. Depending on the eventual timing, We may see an inch or two for the Saturday morning report with 3-6” of continued snowfall during the day as winds shift to be from our favored northwest direction and temperatures cool, with snowfall tapering off during Saturday evening.

The sun returns on Sunday with warm temperatures as a ridge of high pressure builds over the West ahead of the developing Aleutian storm. That storm is forecast to mix with some very cold air from the North Pole as it traverses the Gulf of Alaska late in the weekend and will bring heavy precipitation first to the Pacific Northwest and then California by Tuesday.

While weather forecast models agree on that storm eventually moving inland and affecting our area around Wednesday or Thursday, there are differences in the evolution and timing of the storm that need to be worked out over the coming days. Generally, this looks to be a cold and wet storm that will be followed by additional impulses of energy, moisture and cold air. This is likely to be the best storm cycle of our season so far, and I’ll have a more specific forecast in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon.

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