Sunday, October 31, 2021
Partly sunny skies with temperatures in the low fifties are over the Steamboat Springs area just after noon on this Sunday. A series of disturbances will pass through the area through midweek with the first bringing rain showers to the Yampa Valley and snow showers to the higher elevations starting late this afternoon or evening. Periods of precipitation will continue through midweek, with snow possible down to the valley floor by Wednesday morning before we see a break in the unsettled weather on Thursday.
Our area sits between a deep and cold area of low pressure over the upper Midwest and a strong ridge of high pressure extending from Vancouver northward along the British Columbia coast. A cold front associated with the Midwest area of low pressure is currently moving southward through Wyoming and will be on our doorstep this evening. Additionally, an eddy spinning along the Oregon coast will be forced mostly eastward under the ridge of high pressure by a storm in the Gulf of Alaska, with some energy ejecting out ahead of the eddy bringing showers to our area later this afternoon or evening.
I’m sure all parents bringing their children to the annual Downtown Halloween Stroll want to know the exact time showers will start, but unfortunately I can provide only a rough estimate. My guess is that the cold front will remain to our north and the event will start dry, though there will likely be some passing rain showers by 6 or 7 pm.
Some of the eddy is forecast to move through our area Monday morning, and in addition to some cool air leaking south from the cold front to our north, expect some light showers through the night increasing in intensity at times from Monday morning through the afternoon. Several inches of accumulation are possible at the higher elevations, with some flakes possible down to the Yampa Valley floor.
Better chances of more significant precipitation begin later Tuesday and overnight thanks to the incoming Gulf of Alaska storm. The storm is forecast to split when it makes landfall on Monday, with the southern piece moving across our area later Tuesday and combining with another surge of cool air from that area of low pressure over the Midwest. We could see 1-4” of snowfall accumulate on the non-paved areas around town between Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons in our favorable cool, moist and unstable flow from the northwest, with 5-10” of snowfall at the top of Mt. Werner and difficult travel at times over Rabbit Ears Pass.
Snow showers will hang on but taper off at the higher elevations through Wednesday afternoon, with a dry and mostly sunny day forecast for Thursday. There looks to be another batch of unsettled weather as we head into the weekend, but I’ll talk about that possibility in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon.
Thursday, October 28, 2021
Temperatures are mired in the low forties this Thursday afternoon in Steamboat Springs as a storm reluctantly leaves the area. Sunny and warmer weather returns for Friday and Saturday followed by cooler temperatures and increasing clouds on Sunday ahead of another stretch of unsettled weather for the beginning of the work week.
The storm that began for our area on Tuesday is now located near the southern tip of Illinois, though the cool, moist and unstable northwest flow behind the storm kept snow showers going through the day Wednesday and has allowed the cool and cloudy weather to persist today. However the sun returns for Friday and Saturday as the storm continues moving to the southeast and a ridge of high pressure moves over our area ahead of another incoming Pacific storm, allowing temperatures to rise into the mid-fifties, several degrees above our average of 52 F.
The fate of the next storm is still uncertain, as it is forecast to split as it approaches the West Coast early in the weekend. Some energy will travel over the top of another developing ridge of high pressure along the British Columbia coast and eventually toward our area, and some energy is left behind as an eddy that is forecast to loiter over Oregon for the weekend.
That northern part of the storm is forecast to park a cold front just north of our area by Sunday, while the Oregon eddy will eventually be pushed near our area by a storm currently in the Bering Sea that is forecast to strengthen in the Gulf of Alaska this weekend. And this storm is itself forecast to split early in the work week, with some of that storm affecting our area right behind that eddy.
So we have three moving pieces that will begin to affect our weather on Sunday and continue into the following work week, and the timing and interaction of all these pieces will determine our eventual weather. Right now, it looks like a cooler and cloudy Sunday with rain showers at the low elevations and snow showers at the higher elevations beginning in the afternoon or evening.
These showers will likely intensify and peak Sunday night as the Oregon eddy moves near our area, with rain showers turning mixed or into snow showers by Monday morning. And more unsettled weather is forecast for Tuesday as the next storm eventually moves by. Enjoy the brief return of warmer and sunny weather to start the weekend, and I’ll have an update on how this will eventually play out so you know how to dress for the Steamboat Springs Halloween Stroll in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon.
Sunday, October 24, 2021
After a rainy start to the day in Steamboat Springs, skies have cleared and temperatures have warmed to around fifty degrees this Sunday mid-afternoon. Warm and windy weather is expected on Monday ahead of a strong and complex storm that is forecast to bring rain that turns to snow on Tuesday. Showery weather will hang around behind the departing storm on Wednesday, and possibly some of Thursday before sunny and warmer weather closes out the work week.
Some energy ejecting out ahead of a monster storm currently affecting the West Coast brought the unsettled weather to our area yesterday afternoon and last night, with a tenth of an inch or two of liquid precipitation around town and an inch or two of snow at the higher elevations. This storm developed in the Gulf of Alaska and is currently bringing excessive precipitation and high winds to much of the West Coast. In fact, due to the rapid intensification of the storm, it is called a bomb cyclone, which technically means that the central pressure of the storm, or cyclone, has dropped at least 24 millibars in 24 hours.
That storm is forecast to break apart into a couple of pieces, with one such piece moving across the Great Basin on Monday while another piece travels into Canada. The Great Basin piece of the storm is forecast to bring a cold front through our area Tuesday morning, and ahead of that winds will be increasing from the southwest. So Monday should be mostly sunny, windy and warm as air from the Desert Southwest is carried overhead, and may be the last day of sixty degree weather for the season.
Impressive moisture will accompany the Great Basin storm, and we should see good rain showers at the lower elevations Tuesday morning turning to snow by the afternoon, and all snow at the higher elevations. The storm is expected to split as it moves over our area, which adds some forecast uncertainty, but right now the bulk of the storm is expected to be past our area by Tuesday night. We could see 1-4” of snow down at the Yampa Valley floor by Tuesday night with 3-6” or more at the higher elevations. Travel will likely be difficult at times almost all of Tuesday, especially over Rabbit Ears Pass.
However, our favorable cool, moist and unstable flow from the northwest behind the storm will keep snow showers going through Wednesday and possibly into Thursday. Light accumulations are possible at the higher elevations, though the showers will become lighter, more intermittent and more confined to the higher elevations as the storm continues moving to the east.
A transient ridge of high pressure is then forecast to move and build overhead by Friday and into the weekend for warmer and dry weather as another storm develops in the Gulf of Alaska. Weather forecast models agree that some of that storm will eventually make its way toward our area, though it is not clear if that is later in the weekend or soon thereafter. I’ll certainly have more details about that in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon.
Thursday, October 21, 2021
Mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the fifties are over the Steamboat Springs area early this Thursday afternoon. Friday should be similar to today but warmer before we see a cool front on Saturday with showers starting later in the day and continuing into Sunday morning. While the weather clears for later Sunday and at least some of Monday, several days of stormy weather are forecast starting later Monday or Tuesday.
Currently a large and complex storm is now affecting the northern half of the West Coast while a transient ridge of high pressure builds over the Intermountain West ahead of the storm. We should see another lovely day on Friday with lots of sun and high temperatures in the sixties, around ten degrees above our average of 56 F, which incidentally is falling at a rate of a half degree a day.
Some energy ejecting out ahead of the storm will drag a cool front through our area on Saturday with gradually falling temperatures, increasing clouds and showers expected later in the day, overnight and into Sunday morning. There may be an inch or two of accumulations at the higher elevations, but only liquid is expected down at the Yampa Valley floor.
The weather should clear by Sunday afternoon, though temperatures will be slow to recover in the cool air left behind by the small Saturday storm.
Meanwhile, additional upstream Pacific energy and cold air moving from the North Pole across the Bering Sea will keep the complex parent storm evolving through the weekend, with a large part of the storm forecast to enter the Great Basin on Monday. Temperatures will warm back into the sixties for at least part of Monday as the increasing winds from the southwest ahead of the storm carry warm air from the south over our area.
Weather forecast models are struggling with the evolution of the storm as the incoming Pacific energy interacts with the southward moving polar air and the parent storm. Right now, cold and wet weather is a slam dunk with snow at all elevations and difficult travel, though it is not clear if it arrives later Monday or Tuesday. Stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon where I expect to have at least some of the details ironed out.
Sunday, October 17, 2021
Temperatures are in the fifties this Sunday noon in the Steamboat Springs area under brilliant blue skies. We will reach into the sixties degree today and Monday before a quick-moving storm brings a cold front through our area Monday night along with rain and snow showers at the lower elevations and snow showers at the higher elevations that will last through Tuesday. Pleasant weather with warming temperatures is forecast for the rest of the work week and heading into next weekend.
The snow from the early week storm is rapidly disappearing in town, though it is melting far more reluctantly at the higher elevations. We should see plenty of sun for the rest of today and most of tomorrow with temperatures reaching into the sixties, which is over five degrees above our average of 58 F.
The southern section of a storm just now approaching the Pacific Northwest coast will form an eddy cut off from the main jet stream that is forecast to travel across the Great Basin on Monday and just north of our area on Tuesday. Expect increasing clouds later Monday with a cold front passing through Monday night. Any rain showers at the lower elevations should turn to snow showers by Tuesday morning, with maybe an inch or so of accumulations at the lower elevations and 3-6” possible at the higher elevations as snow showers become more intermittent and continue through the day in our favorable cold, moist and unstable northwest flow behind the storm. As was the case earlier this week, temperatures on Tuesday will likely be mired in the thirties, along with some breezes that will make for a raw feeling fall day.
But the interruption in our current pleasant weather will be brief as a ridge of high pressure moves overhead and strengthens through the rest of the work week, with temperatures warming back into the fifties as the sun returns.
For those who were reminded last Tuesday and Wednesday of just how much outside work still needs to be done before winter, most of this coming week will be a great opportunity to make amends as a significant pattern change looks to be in the offing around next weekend, or soon after. Stay tuned to this blog as I’ll surely be talking about that in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon.