Back to unsettled weather after a beautiful couple of days

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Bluebird skies and temperatures in the low sixties, on their way toward the seventies, are over the Steamboat Springs area this Thursday noon. While the nice weather hangs around for tomorrow with even warmer temperatures, the weather starts turning unsettled for the weekend with good chances for rain and even snowflakes for the beginning of the work week.

The ridge of high pressure currently over the West is sandwiched between two deep and cold areas of low pressure extending southward from the Gulf of Alaska and Hudson Bay. Another storm moving eastward from the Aleutian Islands will force the Gulf of Alaska storm across Idaho on Friday and into Montana on Saturday. We’ll see another beautiful day tomorrow ahead of the storm with even warmer temperatures than today and some breezy winds from the southwest.

The storm will initially pass north of our area on Saturday, though it will be close enough to drag a cold front through sometime around noon, with high temperatures for the day five or so degrees below our average of 61 F. The front is fairly dry, but there will be a chance of showers around the frontal passage and later in the day.

The storm evolves on Sunday as cold air and energy from the Hudson Bay storm rotates into the storm over Montana and elongates it to the southwest, forming a secondary storm that is forecast to be over the Great Basin on Monday and over our area on Tuesday. Ahead of that secondary storm, expect Sunday afternoon to be similar to Saturday with temperatures in the fifties and a chance of afternoon storms.

Precipitation chances increase substantially by Sunday night and Monday as energy and moisture eject out of the newly-formed Great Basin storm. The cold air originally from the Hudson Bay area begins filtering into our area later Monday, and it may be cold enough for snowflakes in town Monday night, with several inches of snow possible over Rabbit Ears Pass.

Another inch or two is possible during the day Tuesday up there while town will see more good chances for rain as the storm passes overhead. Precipitation should become more showery in the favorable, moist and unstable northwest flow behind the storm by Tuesday afternoon, with some of those showers possibly producing brief but locally moderate to heavy precipitation rates.

We should see some sun by Wednesday with temperatures warming back towards average and a chance of an afternoon storm as the atmosphere slowly dries behind the departing storm.

Weather forecast models agree on more sun and additional warming for Thursday, though disagree on the evolution of that eastward-moving storm originally over the Aleutian Islands. The European ECMWF has the storm strengthening west of our area through the weekend, keeping the nice weather around into the weekend, while the American GFS has the storm quickly moving to our north and grazing our area for a cooler Friday with some showers.

I would expect changes to the weather forecast over the coming days, so stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon for more details on the wet and cool weather currently advertised for the beginning of the work week.

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21 May 2021

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