Pleasant weather turns wetter for next week

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Mostly sunny skies with temperatures in the mid-sixties are over the Steamboat Springs area this Thursday afternoon. The current pleasant weather looks to continue through the weekend, with afternoon and early evening shower chances highest on Friday and Sunday ahead of a warm storm system starting early next week.

The jet stream is currently mostly north of our area, though it is close enough for some westerly and northwesterly breezes this afternoon under temperatures about five degrees above our average of 63 F. More of the same is expected for Friday but with an increased chance of afternoon and early evening storms as a weak wave passes to our north.

A stronger wave currently just off the Pacific Northwest is forecast to develop into an eddy cut off from the main jet stream as it travels into the Desert Southwest through the weekend. Winds should turn to be from the southwest by Saturday ahead of the advancing storm, increasing temperatures into the seventies with less of a chance for showers than on Friday as drier air briefly tickles our area through the day.

Temperatures will be similar on Sunday, though chances for afternoon and evening storms increase again as energy begins ejecting out of the eddy. These chances increase further on Monday and Tuesday as the eddy eventually tracks into New Mexico by Tuesday, and high temperatures will cool back to the sixties under increased cloud cover.

The weather forecast becomes more uncertain by midweek as a powerful storm currently off the Aleutian Islands travels across the Gulf of Alaska through the weekend and early next week and makes landfall along the West Coast around Tuesday. Weather forecast models agree that the storm will be largely deflected to our northwest by a developing ridge of high pressure over the Midwest, though disagree on exactly how that will happen. The European ECMWF has a drier solution for midweek as the storm takes a slower and more southern trajectory while the American GFS has a wetter solution as energy and moisture are ejected out over our area ahead of the grazing storm.

And even though there are substantial differences in the placement of the storm by the weekend, they both agree on drier weather returning for the end of the work week and the following weekend. The storm will almost certainly be different that either forecast, so stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon for updates to our coming weather.

Cold and wet weather to start the work week

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Skies have turned cloudy over the Steamboat Springs area early this Sunday afternoon with a temperature of 49 F at the Bob Adams airport. Temperatures won’t rise too much further today before a storm brings colder and wetter weather for Monday and Tuesday. The weather dries and warms starting midweek with a chance of afternoon and evening showers through the rest of the work week ahead of an even warmer, dry and breezy weekend.

The current weather pattern has evolved quite similarly to the forecast in my last weather narrative, and we are left with a developing storm currently in the Great Basin. While there is some clearing in the northwest corner of the state, that may not get here later today as mid-level clouds in flow from the southwest move overhead. So temperatures today look to stay around ten degrees below our average of 62 F.

Energy ejecting out of the Great Basin storm may bring a small chance of showers tonight, though good chances for precipitation begin on Monday as the storm moves over Utah and ejects moisture and energy over our area. It may be cold enough for snowflakes in town Monday morning with a rain-snow mix or all rain under the showers later in the day, but expect daytime highs only in the forties, fifteen to twenty degrees below average.

Showers look to become heavier in the afternoon, helped first by the warmer afternoon temperatures and then by another surge of cool air associated with the approaching center of the storm, which is expected to cross into Colorado Monday evening and pass overhead by early Tuesday morning.

There could be 1-3” of snow around and above Rabbit Ears pass by Monday night before the storm passes overhead and an additional 1-3” during Tuesday in the favorable and unstable moist northwest flow behind the storm. Again we’ll likely see some snowflakes in town overnight and into Tuesday morning in the showery weather before similar temperatures to Monday turn the precipitation into a rain-snow mix or all rain in the afternoon. Showers could produce locally moderate to heavy precipitation rates at times, along with briefly lowering snow levels.

The weather warms and dries on Wednesday, with temperatures rising into the fifties with the reappearance of the sun and a chance of afternoon showers as a flat ridge of high pressure tries to build over the West. More warming into the sixties is expected on Thursday, with a chance for afternoon and evening showers as a wave passes through the ridge to our north.

Another incoming storm is forecast to approach the West Coast near the end of the work week, though it looks to split and it is not clear how much energy is partitioned between the northern and southern parts of the storm, and whether the southern portion makes landfall. In any event, warming into the seventies is expected for Friday and through most of the weekend ahead of the storm. There may be a chance for showers later Friday before very dry air moves overhead for most of the weekend accompanied by breezy winds from the west and southwest on Saturday and windier weather from the southwest on Sunday.

The timing and evolution of the next storm for the end of the weekend or the beginning of the next work week is very uncertain at this time, so stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon for more details on the weather for the end of the weekend.

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.

Wet and cool start to the work week

Sunday, May 2, 2021

After a spectacular several days with with summer-like temperatures in the mid-seventies, the mercurial spring weather has flipped this Sunday mid-afternoon with rain showers and a temperature of 44 at the Bob Adams airport. While we did briefly enjoy a warm start to the day with a high temperature of 61 F at 1:35 pm, an incoming storm will keep cool and unsettled weather over our area through Wednesday. Warm and dry weather returns for the end of the work week before another storm brings more needed precipitation around or soon after next weekend.

A storm currently stretched from the Great Basin to the Canadian Plains is in the process of splitting, with the southern part of the storm forecast to intensify through Monday as it moves through Colorado. While we saw one cold front pass through early this afternoon with rain showers to about 9500′ in elevation and snow above, another cold front associated with the northern part of the split will pass tonight and lower snow levels further. Additionally, gusty winds from the east will increase overnight and through the morning as moist air is drawn over the Continental Divide and into the storm.

While we will likely see snowflakes down in the Yampa Valley after midnight, snow should be accumulating at pass level and above, and perhaps even briefly on grassy surface in town. There could be 1-4” of snow at and above 9000′ by early morning with another 2-5” that falls during the day, with the highest amounts extending from north of town to the Wyoming border. Travel over Rabbit Ears pass may be difficult at times through this period, especially under the heavier showers.

While precipitation will decrease on Tuesday, or perhaps even end for a time, it is expected to pick back up ahead of another storm passing through later Tuesday and Wednesday. Unlike the first storm, this one will have less moisture but will move past our area in pieces in favorable northwest flow. Most of the snow should fall from Tuesday evening into the night, but showers will continue through the day Wednesday and into the evening. Another 2-5” is possible at and above 9000′ before skies are forecast to clear by Thursday morning and bring warming temperatures back into the sixties for Thursday and possibly seventies by Friday.

Another storm is forecast to cross the Pacific Northwest coast late in the work week before settling into the Great Basin during the weekend while mixing with more cold air from the Canadian Plains. This complex and difficult to forecast storm may bring some cooler weather and showers into our area on Saturday before precipitation starts in earnest as soon as Sunday. And precipitation may continue into the following work week as that storm evolves in the Great Basin. Stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon for more details on the weather for next weekend and how wet the following work week may be.

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1 April 2018

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