Record heat likely on Tuesday

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Temperatures have already reached the eighty degree mark in Steamboat Springs under cloudless skies this Sunday noon, on their way towards ninety. Expect upper eighties to low nineties and lots of sun for much of the work week before a storm passing well to our north brings some clouds and slightly cooler temperatures in the eighties for the end of the work week and next weekend. Chances for beneficial precipitation are near nil for the upcoming week, though longer range weather forecast models offer some hope in the extended period.

A ridge of high pressure sandwiched between strong and cold storms east of Hudson Bay and the Gulf of Alaska is centered over the Rocky Mountains, and is responsible for our current hot and dry weather. Our last relatively cool day was on Friday when a dry cool front grazed our area, and brought our high temperature for the day down to 77 F, which was still 5 F above our average of 72 F for that date. Interestingly, the low temperature for Friday morning was 32 F, around 5 F below average, but combined with the high temperature of 85 F the day before meant that we had a 53 F temperature swing between Thursday afternoon and Friday morning!

I hope you enjoyed the exceedingly pleasant and cool-feeling Friday since the heat returns in a big way for the upcoming week. The current hot temperatures fifteen degrees above average grow only hotter during the first half of the work week as hot air ahead of the Gulf of Alaska storm amplifies the ridge of high pressure over the Rocky Mountains and brings even warmer temperatures close to twenty degrees above average to our area. While high temperature records may be threatened on Monday (92 in 1936) and Wednesday (89 F in 1893), they almost certainly be broken on Tuesday when 86 F was recorded in 1974.

The Gulf of Alaska storm is forecast to be pushed inland by upstream Pacific energy during the first half of the work week and battle the ridge of high pressure over the Rocky Mountains. The end result will be a storm that eventually travels through the central Canadian Plains and a squashed ridge of high pressure over our area. This allows for some increased breezes from the west and the gradual introduction of mid and high level moisture from the Pacific through next weekend that should eventually produce afternoon clouds over our area that will temper the afternoon heat.

Unfortunately, it appears the low levels of the atmosphere will remain relatively dry and any precipitation produced by the clouds will likely result in erratic gusty winds and possibe dry lightening depending upon the stability of the atmosphere. So be aware that the wildfire threat will be increasing over the next week.

Additional Pacific storms follow starting late next weekend, and these will likely trek closer to our area thanks to the weakened high pressure that is left over the Rocky Mountains. While a weather forecast over a week away is tenuous at best, we may see some better chances for wetting rains early in the following work week and possibly again later in the week as another Pacific storm may develop over the Pacific Northwest and allow moisture to our south to move over our area as winds turn to be from the southwest ahead of the storm.

I’ll review any new temperature records set in Steamboat Springs in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon as well as have more details on the several Pacific storms that may affect our area for the weekend and the following work week.

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