Sunday, February 7, 2021
The sun has returned late this Sunday morning to Steamboat Springs with breezy winds from the west and temperatures of 35 F at the Bob Adams airport and 13 F at the top of Mt. Werner. We’ll have a couple of days of dry weather to dig out from our recent storm cycle before a storm is forecast for Tuesday. Another short break is advertised for later Wednesday and early Thursday before the snow machine restarts later Thursday and possibly lasts through the weekend.
Snowfall totals for the Steamboat Ski Area were impressive, with 25.5” of desperately needed snow falling at mid-mountain between last Wednesday night and this Sunday morning and 47” up top. The large totals were due to the moisture-rich storm track that is currently riding over a ridge of high pressure in the Gulf of Alaska and separating the cold air over the eastern two thirds of the country and the warm air over the Desert Southwest.
The storm track is expected to waver over our area over the next week, with the warm air to our southwest currently winning the battle of the air masses and pushing the storm track just to the north of our area. So expect dry skies with ample sunshine today and tomorrow as the cold and moist air is relegated to our north and east.
Some moisture and energy currently moving underneath the ridge of high pressure in the Gulf of Alaska will move through our area on Tuesday. As this wave originates in the data-sparse Pacific, there is uncertainty with respect to the amount of moisture than eventually travels over our area, and best guess right now is that we could see around 4-8” of relatively dense and possibly wind-affected snow at mid-mountain by the Wednesday morning report.
A lobe of energy spinning around a vortex of cold air over the central Canadian Plains is forecast to bring another surge of arctic air into the northern U.S. Wednesday night. Ahead of that surge, snows should end later Wednesday with Wednesday night and the first part of Thursday expected to be dry. But that surge of arctic air will eventually push the storm track back south and over our area by later Thursday as a stationary front takes up residence in our proximity.
The result is another long-duration snowfall event that begins Thursday night and lasts through the weekend. Waves of Pacific energy and moisture, in concert with a westward surge of arctic from western Canada, are forecast to weaken and undercut the ridge of high pressure over the Gulf of Alaska. The Pacific waves are then forecast to move over the stationary front near our area, creating periods of moderate to heavy snowfall.
Right now, Friday into Friday night is looking likely for the heaviest accumulations, with another Pacific wave timed for Sunday. There is substantial forecast uncertainty with respect to how far south that wave will eventually travel, so it is not clear if it will snow as hard on Sunday as it probably will on Friday.
And the good news for our snowy February continues through the following week as additional storms are in the weather forecast. Stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon as snowfall totals for the long-duration event come into focus. And I’d like to welcome new readers and mention that by clicking on the Amazon banner embedded within this forecast when viewed from the website, or on the home page, within the 24 hours before making a purchase directly supports this site. While private forecasts have been proliferating over the years, know that it is unusual for a forecaster to concentrate all of their resources on such a localized area. I do this as a community service, and hope that you can support my efforts either through my affiliates or by subscribing to a paid product.