Cool and unsettled weather for the week ahead

Sunday, April 11, 2021

The Steamboat Springs area is currently seeing sunny skies and temperatures of 47 F in town and 28 F near the top of Mt. Werner on this Sunday noon. The cooler temperatures today as compared to yesterday will recover on Monday before a cooler and unsettled stretch of weather begins Tuesday and lasts through at least the work week. Expect periods of rain showers or a rain-snow mix at lower elevations and accumulating snow at higher elevations.

A grazing storm to our north that brought cooler air across northern Colorado will move eastward today as cold air sourced from the North Pole pours into the Pacific Northwest on the backside of the storm today and tomorrow. This forms an eddy that will meander around the Great Basin through the work week before it is forecast to shear apart as it moves eastward over our area near the end of the work week.

The evolution of these eddies are notoriously difficult to predict as they are cut off from the stronger forcing associated with the jet stream. Nonetheless, weather forecast models are converging on several periods of precipitation during the upcoming week as waves of energy and moisture move overhead.

So after a cooler and still-breezy day today, with high temperatures five or so degrees below our average of 51 F, we should see continued sunny skies, less wind and temperatures around five degrees above average on Monday.

Clouds should increase later Monday for a cloudy and cool Tuesday as a piece of energy is forecast to eject out of the eddy in the western Great Basin and move over our area Tuesday night. We could see some rain showers or a rain-snow mix at the lower elevations later Tuesday and overnight, with 3-6” of snow possible at the higher elevations by Wednesday morning.

Precipitation looks to decrease on Wednesday, though it is not clear if it just diminishes or ends. The uncertainty lies in the eventual shape of the wobbling eddy and whether we see enough southerly flow over our area to warm and dry the atmosphere.

It does appear there will be at least another, and possibly more, waves of precipitation as the Great Basin eddy evolves in a wobbly fashion through the work week and eventually moves through our area. There has not been much consistency either between or within iterations of the weather forecast models, so the timing of and even existence of these waves is just too uncertain to pinpoint at this time. Cool and unsettled weather is likely to continue through the work week, and possibly through the following weekend as the eddy reluctantly moves overhead.

Enjoy the sunny Closing Day at the Steamboat Ski Resort today, and stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon where I’ll have more details on the evolution of that Great Basin eddy.

Weather roller coaster continues through Closing Day

Thursday, April 8, 2021

After a cool and showery day yesterday, this Thursday noon is serving up sunny skies and temperatures of 51 F at the Bob Adams airport and 31 F near the top of the Steamboat Ski Resort. Cooler temperatures with some snowflakes are forecast for tomorrow before another warm and mostly sunny day follows on Saturday. A cold front will be on our doorstep for Closing Day on Sunday before the weather forecast turns cool and unsettled for the following work week.

A storm that moved through the Gulf of Alaska yesterday and another forecast to move through tomorrow will graze our area on Friday and Sunday, respectively. Both will bring cold fronts through the area, with some snow possible with the first centered on Friday morning. The southern extent of this storm is still uncertain even at this late hour, and we may see no snow at all or perhaps an inch or two. The cooling is more certain though, so while the clouds will dissipate in the afternoon, high temperatures will go from five to ten degrees above our average of 50 F today to that much below average tomorrow, depending on how much sun we see during the afternoon.

Saturday should be a repeat of today before a storm similar to the one tomorrow moves through our area later Sunday. While precipitation looks less likely on Sunday than Friday, the timing of the cold front is still a bit uncertain, with cooler air likely to start to impact the Steamboat Springs area by Sunday afternoon.

But the Sunday storm has a huge trick up its sleeve, and even while most of the storm will be past our area on Monday for a nice day, some air from the North Pole will continue to pour into the backside of the storm, creating a new storm that is forecast to meander around the Great Basin for the rest of the work week.

This new storm has only recently been coming into focus in the weather forecast models, so all I will say at this point is there will likely be an extended stretch of cool and unsettled weather that lasts through the work week and possibly into the following weekend. More details will certainly emerge by my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon, so enjoy the sunshine now since it may not be around much next week.

Some snow likely during closing week

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Mostly sunny skies with temperatures of 53 F at the Bob Adams airport and 44 F at the top of Mt. Werner are over the Steamboat Springs area late this Easter Sunday morning. Another couple of days with high temperatures in the sixties will be followed by snow chances for later Tuesday and Wednesday as a compact storm passes through our area. Drying and more seasonable temperatures are forecast for the rest of the work week and into the closing weekend of the Steamboat Ski Resort.

A storm passing through the Gulf of Alaska earlier in the weekend has split, with the northern part of the storm currently located over the Vancouver region and the southern part forming an eddy off the West Coast. The northern part of the storm is forecast to undergo its own split today, with the southern part forming an eddy that passes over our area from later Tuesday through Wednesday.

This eventual and complicated evolution of the Gulf of Alaska storm is why there was so much uncertainty in earlier weather forecasts. Ahead of the storm, expect another couple of unseasonably warm days for today and Monday, with periods of clouds and sun today as some moisture scoots by and more sun on Monday.

The cold front associated with the incoming storm looks to pass through by midday on Tuesday for a mostly raw day, with increasing clouds and breezy conditions, though nothing like the wind we saw with last week’s dry storm. The storm is forecast to intensify a bit as it moves through, and with showers starting after the cold front passes, possibly with a rain/snow mix at the lower elevations, we could see 2-5” of snowfall at mid-mountain by noon on Wednesday in the favorable moist and unstable northwest flow behind the storm.

This may be the last snowfall while the Steamboat Ski Resort is open, though the weather for closing day is uncertain, as one incoming storm passes well north of our area on Thursday and the next incoming storm tries to mix with that leftover eddy off the West Coast during the weekend. A weak ridge of high pressure is forecast to build over the West through Saturday, and though we will see above average temperatures from midweek through then, they look to be cooler than the temperatures we are currently seeing.

There is weather forecast model uncertainty during next weekend with regards to the interaction, similar to the American GFS, or not, similar to the European ECWMF, of the next incoming storm and that eddy off the West Coast, but the weather looks like it may be unsettled, possibly as early as closing day. Enjoy the changing seasons over the next few days, with the warm spring weather today and tomorrow hopefully giving way to some fresh snow for Wednesday morning. And stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon where I’ll discuss the weather for closing weekend and what may be in store for us the following week.

Gorgeous weather lasts through the weekend

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Bluebird skies and temperatures of 40 F at the Bob Adams airport and 31 F near the top of Mt. Werner are over the Steamboat Springs area this Thursday noon. Warming temperatures and dry skies will extend through the weekend and into Monday before chances for cooler weather and precipitation appear during closing week of the Steamboat Ski Resort.

A ridge of high pressure is currently over the West ahead of a developing storm in the Gulf of Alaska. A piece of energy left behind from our disappointingly dry and windy storm on Tuesday is currently crossing the southern California coast and is forecast to travel along southern Arizona tomorrow and southern New Mexico on Saturday. We may see some clouds tonight ahead of the system, but otherwise sunny skies will dominate through Saturday with high temperatures today near our average of 48 F. More warming into the fifties is forecast for Friday, with sixties forecast for Saturday.

Weather forecast models are still struggling with the evolution of that Gulf of Alaska storm, with the consensus forecast now a compromise between the slower European ECMWF and faster American GFS as talked about in the last weather narrative. The current forecast now has the storm stretching to the southwest as it approaches the Pacific Northwest coast late in the weekend before it splits, with some of the storm forecast to be left behind off the West Coast and some moving inland.

There is still weather forecast model disagreement on how much energy is in the northern and southern parts of the split, but it appears we will not see cooler weather associated with the northern part of the split till around Tuesday. So ahead of that, expect more sixties for Easter Sunday and Monday, with some high clouds on Sunday as moisture ahead of the storm scoots across the Rockies.

There are snow chances for around Wednesday, though those will depend upon the eventual strength and track of the northern part of the storm. Enjoy the spectacular early spring weather through the weekend, and check back Sunday afternoon for my regularly scheduled weather narrative to see if we’ll see snow during closing week.

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