Warming temperatures this week under continued smokey skies

Sunday, August 8, 2021

After a break from the smoke on Friday, it has returned to the Steamboat Springs area this weekend with temperatures in the upper seventies early this Sunday afternoon under sunny but hazy skies. While smoke should decrease later this afternoon and evening, its back tomorrow as a grazing storm increases winds from the west. We probably won’t see much cooling tomorrow associated with the dry storm, but high temperatures will increase into the mid-eighties on Tuesday and remain there for the rest of the upcoming week, save for possibly Thursday when another grazing wave may briefly knock temperatures down a few degrees.

As it looks like the smoke in our area will not be short-lived, I have installed the Purple Air widget at the top of the SnowAlarm home page, and have added another smoke forecast map at the top of the NOAA smoke plume forecasts page. This forecast map shows improving air quality this afternoon and evening, though another batch of smoke from the California wildfires overspreads our area after midnight and Monday as winds from the west pick up due to a storm to our north grazing our area tomorrow. We may see temperatures knocked back to around our average high of 82 F on Monday if any of the cool air makes it into our region, but if not, expect another warm day.

While the smoke may inhibit the warming during the day, luckily it does not interfere with nighttime cooling, so expect low temperatures around our average of 45 F, or even a bit cooler in low-lying areas and possibly on Tuesday morning as a cooler air mass grazes our area.

Behind the grazing storm on Monday, a ridge of high pressure builds over the Gulf of Alaska through the work week, decreasing winds and shifting them to be from the northwest. The smoke plume model only goes out 48 hours, but similar to Saturday, this wind direction is likely to move smoke from the British Columbia fires over our area, though that is just a guess.

So expect temperatures to stay warm for the work week, with possibly a bit cooler start to the day on Thursday morning as a wave moves over the ridge of high pressure to our west into a low pressure area centered over Hudson Bay and extending southward into the Midwest.

Weather forecast models do have that ridge of high pressure over the Gulf of Alaska moving eastward around the weekend, though disagree on how quickly that happens and the strength of the high pressure system. They do agree that our winds will shift to be more from the south, which should not only clear the air of the work week smoke but introduce some moisture to our area, though it is too early to tell if we will see any precipitation.

There may be a better surge of moisture from the south after next weekend, but that is dependent upon the strength of incoming Pacific storms which are not well represented a week away. So stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon for details on next weekend and the following work week, and feel free to regularly consult the SnowAlarm home page for the current air quality status, temperatures and wind.

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23 November 2021

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