Winter returns after the first day of spring

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Mostly sunny skies have settled over the Steamboat Springs area early this Saturday afternoon after some clouds this morning. And to commemorate the first day of spring, which occurred at 3:37 am this morning as the sun crossed the equator and ventured into the northern hemisphere, we find warm temperatures of 54 F at the Bob Adams airport and 38 F at the top of the Steamboat Ski Area. But spring turns back to winter tonight as a strong cold front blasts through our area, starting a stretch of cool and unsettled weather that may be punctuated by a significant storm near the end of next week.

A storm currently crossing the Great Basin will bring a cold front through our area late this evening with periods of moderate to heavy snow. While the storm is currently elongating to the southwest and weakening as it approaches our area, additional upstream energy will reinvigorate the storm as it passes through, with 3-6” of snow possible by the Sunday morning report. The storm will also slow as additional upstream energy is incorporated, and anther 1-4” of snowfall is expected during the day Sunday and into the evening.

An additional storm currently traveling through the Gulf of Alaska is forecast to quickly follow on Tuesday, and it is not clear if snowfall stops or just becomes very light and showery on Monday behind the Sunday storm and ahead of the Tuesday storm, especially at the higher elevations.

The Tuesday storm is forecast to split around our area, and while we will see at least light snowfall from Monday night through Tuesday night, forecast amounts are uncertain. My guess is that we could see 2-5” during the day Tuesday and overnight which would be reported on Wednesday morning.

Yet another storm currently approaching the Aleutian Islands is forecast to strengthen and split as it approaches the Gulf of Alaska, leaving behind a large chunk of energy north of Hawaii which may become a player in our weather sometime after next weekend.

But enough energy remains with the storm as it passes through the Gulf and mixes with cold air from the Yukon to make it a possibly significant storm for our area near the end of the work week and into the following weekend.

While it does appear we will see a break in the weather between the Tuesday storm and the end-of-work-week storm, the speed and evolution of the late-week storm will determine whether that break lasts for only part of Wednesday, or into Thursday as well.

While this weather narrative was published a day earlier than usual due to uncertainty around tomorrow’s storm, stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon where I’ll discuss what may be a significant storm heading into next weekend.

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23 November 2021

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