Cold and wet weather returns after several gorgeous days

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Bluebird skies, calm winds and a temperature of 61 F have brought an almost summery feel to the Steamboat Springs area early this Thursday afternoon. This stretch of gorgeous weather lasts into the weekend before we see a change by Sunday to a wet and cool pattern that lasts through midweek.

A ridge of high pressure is currently sitting over the West between a storm in the Gulf of Alaska and a vortex of cold air centered over Hudson Bay. We’ll see high temperatures in the sixties today, five to ten degrees above our average high of 58 F, before temperatures warm into the seventies for Friday and Saturday.

Meanwhile, an eastward-moving and strong storm off the Aleutian Islands is forecast to push the Gulf of Alaska storm eastward as well, with the storm forecast to cross the West Coast on Saturday. Clouds should increase along with some breezes from the west by the afternoon with light rain showers possible by later Saturday and overnight.

The storm is forecast to move through the Great Basin on Sunday and strengthen thanks to a reinforcing chunk of cold air originally from that Hudson Bay vortex. Temperatures will cool toward around average on Sunday along with continued chances for some light morning rain showers followed by increasing chances of heavier showers and steadier rain as the day progresses.

The storm is forecast to undergo a modest split Sunday night which introduces some uncertainty into the weather forecast, but right now a cold front will pass through sometime later Sunday, leading to snow showers at the higher elevations and a rain or rain-snow mix at the lower elevations that will continue through the overnight and Monday and into Tuesday morning.

Travel over Rabbit Ears pass will likely be difficult at times from Sunday night through Tuesday morning, and there may even be some accumulating snowfall in the Yampa Valley by Tuesday morning. The beneficial moisture that eventually falls is sorely needed, and adding to the high elevation snowpack in May is always welcome.

Part of that Aleutian storm is forecast to cross the Pacific Northwest on Monday even as cold air from the North Pole reinvigorates most of the remaining storm over the island chain. There may be a break in the weather over our area during part of Tuesday, or not, as precipitation is forecast to increase again later Tuesday and overnight as the Pacific Northwest storm moves overhead.

The second part of the storm cycle is still evolving in the weather forecast models, so expect changes when I publish my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon. It does appear a ridge of high pressure moves overhead by the end of the work week for at least a brief return to warm and dry weather, though the following weekend may see the effects from that Aleutian storm which is forecast to move into the Gulf of Alaska by midweek and toward the Pacific Northwest coast by the end of the work week.

Wintry storm Tuesday interrupts warm springtime weather

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Temperatures have soared into the sixties under partly sunny skies early on this windy Sunday afternoon in Steamboat Springs. More of the same is expected for Monday before part of a wintry storm passes through later Tuesday and Tuesday night. The sun returns for Wednesday with warming temperatures approaching or even exceeding the vaunted seventy degree mark by the end of the work week and into next weekend.

A ridge of high pressure is currently sitting over most of the U.S. except for a storm just off the northern California coast. The gusty winds from the southwest ahead of the storm will continue to bring warm temperatures ten or so degrees above our average of 57 F to our area for the rest of today and Monday. The storm is forecast to move south through California through Tuesday before grudgingly moving eastward along the Mexican border.

Weather forecast models have trended slower and further south with the storm since my last weather narrative on Thursday, so all of Monday is now expected to be warm and windy, with mostly sunny skies giving way to some clouds by later in the day as some energy and moisture ejects out of the storm to our southwest.

A rain-snow mix at the lower elevations and snow at the higher elevations is in our future for Tuesday, though whether that arrives Tuesday morning or afternoon will be dependent upon the eventual evolution of the storm. There is also uncertainty in regards to how much energy is ejected over our area as the storm splits during the day, but we can expect precipitation to continue through the night and possibly into Wednesday morning, with 2-5” of snow expected at and above mid-mountain. Travel may be difficult over Rabbit Ears pass later Tuesday and overnight as some of this snow may fall at locally moderate to heavy rates at times.

Wednesday should dry out with temperatures rising to around average, along with a chance of an afternoon shower depending upon how much sun we see during the day.

A ridge of high pressure then begins moving over the West by Wednesday and expands to cover most of the U.S through the work week, except for Texas and the Gulf Coast which will see the effects from the main part of the slowly moving storm, and the Northeast.

So expect some clouds on Thursday and warm temperatures around or a bit above average, with even warmer and sunnier weather forecast for Friday, with high temperatures perhaps reaching seventy for the first time this year. And if not Friday, then Saturday as the dry air underneath the ridge of high pressure moves overhead.

Another storm is forecast for around the end of the weekend or the beginning of the next work week, though weather forecast models have trended further north and drier for our area. I’ll have a better idea of what’s in store for us by my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon.

Roller coaster weather continues for the upcoming week

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Peeks of sun are over the Steamboat Springs area on this Thursday mid-afternoon with temperatures of 45 F at the Bob Adams airport and 24 F near the top of Mt. Werner. A small storm passes through on Friday followed by a much warmer weekend with a mix of sun and clouds that may extend through Monday, along with increasing winds from the southwest. Another wintry storm is forecast for Tuesday before warmer temperatures and the mix of sun and clouds return for the rest of the work week.

The complex weather pattern over our area is the result of incoming Pacific energy partially interacting with an expansive vortex of cold air and energy over northern Canada. High temperatures have been ten to fifteen degrees below our average of 56 F since Tuesday, and Friday won’t be much different with the final piece of that complex weather pattern passing over in the afternoon. There is not much moisture associated with this final wave and I would only expect an an inch or two, if that, at mid-mountain and above.

Meanwhile, a powerful storm currently located off the Aleutian Islands is forecast to move eastward and cross the West Coast late in the weekend. Warming behind the departing storm and ahead of the approaching storm will finally drag our Saturday temperatures to around average with a mix of sun and clouds. A piece of energy ejecting out of the approaching storm will move overhead Saturday night with increasing clouds and some breezes but no significant precipitation.

Winds out of the southwest and temperatures increase on Sunday as the main part of the Aleutian storm makes landfall. Depending on the speed of the storm, we may sneak in similar weather for some of Monday before the cold front and snow associated with the storm moves over our area. Tuesday should be cold, though this late in April precipitation may be a cold rain or a rain-snow mix in the Yampa Valley but all snow at the higher elevations.

The warm and dry weather is rapidly forecast to return for the rest of the work week, though another quick–moving storm may pass sometime during the following weekend. And in good news for the precipitation department, another major storm is forecast early in the following work week. Stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon when I should have a better idea on the timing and strength of the Tuesday storm.

More cool and unsettled weather for the work week

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Mostly sunny skies are over the Steamboat Springs area this Sunday noon with 41 F at the Bob Adams airport and 23 F at the top of the closed-for-the-season Steamboat Ski Resort. We’ll have three chances for snow on Monday, Wednesday and Friday before temperatures warm and skies clear for most of next weekend.

Temperatures are still cool behind the complex storm system that ended up leaving 13.5” at the top of Sunshine Peak and 10” at mid-mountain by last Friday morning, even as the sun returned for this weekend. Another stretch of cool and unsettled weather begins during Monday afternoon as a cold front currently making its way through Montana blasts through our area. Similar to Thursday but to a lesser extent, we may see storm cells move through with a lightning flash or two and brief but locally moderate to heavy snowfall. The storm moves through quickly with 3-6” of snow expected at mid-mountain by the time it ends by midnight Monday.

Low temperatures will be quite cold Tuesday morning behind the front and could be around fifteen degrees below our average of 27 F. Though we should see lots of sun on Tuesday, high temperatures will struggle to recover in this Siberian air mass and will only make it to ten or so degrees below our average of 54 F.

Meanwhile, a large storm currently in the Gulf of Alaska will eject some moisture and energy that crosses the Pacific Northwest coast Monday night. Weather forecast models have some of this storm moving eastward and mixing with another push of cold air from western Canada, though it is not clear how much energy and moisture ends up over our area. Clouds and possibly some light precipitation may begin ahead of this wave early Wednesday before we may see 3-6” of accumulating snowfall at mid-mountain by midnight Wednesday as the wave moves through.

There may be another wave on Thursday that may produce additional precipitation, though that will be dependent upon the evolution and interaction of that Pacific Northwest wave with more cool air from the Canadian Plains.

Our active weather pattern continues through Friday as another Siberian chunk of cold air is forecast to move overhead. Early indications are that this storm will carry less moisture than the preceding ones with some light snowfall possible during the day Friday and Friday night.

A break in the active weather pattern is advertised to start next weekend along with significant warming that will return the springtime vibe to the Yampa Valley. While this pleasant weather is currently forecast to extend through Monday, more snow may follow for Tuesday. Stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon for more details on the possible Friday storm and whether a nice weekend is still in store.

Active weather quiets down for the weekend

Thursday, April 15, 2021

The Steamboat Springs area saw periods of heavy snow early this Thursday afternoon as a very productive storm cell, accompanied by a couple of lightning flashes, passed overhead. More showers are expected for later today and Friday before we see a bit of a break for the weekend, especially on Sunday. More snow arrives on Monday.

The storm bringing us this wintry weather is currently located over the Colorado / Utah border, and waves of energy and moisture ejecting out of the storm have brought periods of snow, some heavy, to our area today. The Steamboat Powdercam showed 9” of snow had fallen by 3 pm with the Mid-Mountain Powdercam showing 6”. While some of that snow fell early this morning, about 4” fell between noon and 2 pm as a strong storm cell moved ahead of the parent storm.

Additional energy moving south from the the Canadian Plains will not only force the parent storm over our area tonight but also form an eddy that moves into the Desert Southwest for the weekend. We should see more snowfall as the parent storm moves overhead tonight, and continued showery snowfall behind the storm on Friday. Unfortunately, that eventual Desert Southwest eddy steals some energy from the parent storm, so our favorable northwest flow behind the storm will not be as productive as usual, but we could still see an additional 3-6” by Friday afternoon.

Showers should be mostly ended for Saturday as the focus for precipitation shifts to southern Colorado thanks to that Desert Southwest eddy. And Sunday is shaping up to be quite pleasant as some dry air between the two storm systems is forecast to move overhead.

But the break in the active weather will be short-lived as a wave of energy originally from Siberia is forecast to move south of the North Pole on Friday, across the Yukon on Saturday and over Montana by late Sunday. The strong cold front is timed to reach our area sometime during the day Monday, accompanied with another round of likely significant snow.

Meanwhile, a storm currently in the Gulf of Alaska will intensify over the weekend and early next week before ejecting a wave of energy and moisture toward the West Coast early in the work week. Weather forecast models at this point have additional waves of energy from Siberia heading toward our area for the rest of the work week as well for another week of cool and unsettled weather, though it is not clear how those waves will interact with the ejecting energy from the Gulf of Alaska storm.

Stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on a hopefully nice Sunday afternoon as the active weather for the next work week comes into sharper focus.

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