Sunday, July 4, 2021
Temperatures around eighty degrees and sunny skies are over the Steamboat Springs area late this Independence Day morning. We’ll see warm temperatures for most of the work week, with our best chance of showers on Monday, before some cooling is forecast to start around Friday.
A ridge of high pressure over the West is being kept in check by a series of Pacific storms moving across the northern states and southern Canada. Even so, the high temperature yesterday was five degrees above our average of 80 F with some more warming expected today. Moisture trapped under the ridge has allowed some weak afternoon storms to form the last few days, though each storm depletes the low-level moisture meaning an even less of a chance for storms today.
But that changes on Monday as a weak wave of energy and moisture currently over the northern Sierra Nevada travels over the top of the ridge and brings a good chance of afternoon and evening showers to our area on Monday. Afternoon high temperatures may be tempered by the cloud cover, though they are still expected to be above average.
Another few degrees of cooling will bring our temperatures closer to average on Tuesday behind the departing disturbance along with with a much reduced chance of showers as dry air moves overhead. While the dry air sticks around for Wednesday for near nil shower chances, temperatures rise into the mid and upper eighties again as the ridge of high pressure briefly rebuilds over the West.
A storm complex currently over the Bering Sea and extending southward to the Aleutian Islands is in the process of ejecting some energy eastward. This wave of energy is forecast to mix with an area of low pressure that forms well off the West Coast early in the work week before making landfall around midweek near Vancouver.
The wave is forecast to travel across the northern Intermountain region on Thursday and graze our area on Friday. There are several concerning issues with this wave as it relates to the ongoing, but recently quieted wildfires as winds will be increasing ahead of the wave on a still hot Thursday. And any showers that do form ahead of the wave will likely lead to dry thunderstorms with gusty and erratic outflow winds as precipitation evaporates in the dry air near the surface.
There is still a fair bit of uncertainty as to the timing of the wave, but right now it looks like a weak cool front will pass through Friday morning, along with an increase in winds. It is not clear how this will affect wildfire behavior as the increased danger from higher wind speeds will be balanced by cooler temperatures.
Some of that cooler air may stick around for part of Saturday before warm temperatures above average return for at least the second half of next weekend. But the longer range weather forecast models have that storm complex over the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands moving into the Gulf of Alaska by the weekend and ejecting a series of waves that will move near or over our area during the following work week. These will not only keep the heat from building over the West and our area but also increases precipitation chances.
But there is a lot of uncertainty as to how the eventual Gulf of Alaska storm develops, and I hope to have a better idea on what may be in store for our area for next weekend and the following work week in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon.