More warm and dry weather ahead

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Mostly sunny skies with temperatures in the upper forties are over the Steamboat Springs area early this Sunday afternoon. Not much change in the weather is expected heading into next weekend other than some periods of increased high cloudiness as disturbances pass well to our north.

A broad ridge of high pressure is currently centered over the Desert Southwest while a deep and cold area of low pressure extends from north of Hudson Bay southward across the Great Lakes and into the Ohio River Valley.

While Pacific energy and moisture traveling over the top of the western ridge of high pressure is currently bringing precipitation to areas around Vancouver and Washington, those waves are forecast to stay north of our area through the work week. We may see some increased clouds around Monday night and during the day Wednesday as these disturbances graze our area, along with high temperatures in the mid-forties on both Tuesday and Wednesday, but other than that expect lots of sun with high temperatures possibly breaching the fifty degree mark.

Despite the warm days, nighttime temperatures should continue to fall into the twenties, so snow making operations should be able to continue during each of the nights. Of course, all eyes are on the when this unseasonably warm and dry period might end, and it appears a Pacific disturbance may begin to break down the ridge next weekend and allow storms to move over our area by the beginning of the following work week.

This pattern has been promised for a while now by the longer term weather forecast models, but it is encouraging that it now appears in the middle of the approximately two week extended forecast period rather than at the end. Be sure to stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon where we’ll see if this pattern change is still in our future.

Lots of sun with warming temperatures through the weekend

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Brilliant blue skies and temperatures in the mid-thirties are over the Steamboat Springs area on this Thanksgiving afternoon. High temperatures will rise around ten degrees for Friday, and we may see some clouds later in the day ahead of a dry cool front early Saturday. Temperatures will be knocked back a few degrees for the Opening Day of the Steamboat Ski Resort on Saturday even as clouds dissipate and mostly sunny skies return for the afternoon. High temperatures recover to the mid-forties on Sunday under sunny skies, with continued sun and even warmer temperatures to start the work week.

The interesting weather for the next several days will be over the northern Pacific Northwest, thanks to a well positioned Pacific storm track, and the upper Midwest and especially the Northeast as several storms move through the quite cold trough of low pressure extending from north of Hudson Bay southward through the Great Lakes.

But our area will be left high and dry with only a grazing dry cool front timed for around Saturday morning. Ahead of that, look for temperatures to rise to around ten degrees above our average high of 35 F on Friday along with an increase in clouds later in the day as the cool front approaches.

Any clouds early Saturday should clear as Opening Day wears on, though high temperatures will cool a few degrees from the day before. But a strengthening ridge of high pressure will begin to move into our area overnight leading to afternoon temperatures breaching the fifty degree mark on Sunday and possibly reaching the mid-fifties on Monday.

Luckily for continued snowmaking operations, the dry skies will allow for overnight temperatures to cool into the teens each night, which is not quite as cold as our average low of 12 F, but plenty cold enough for efficient snowmaking, especially with the forecast of low relative humidity.

Not much is expected to change for the following work week, but there are indications that a pattern change is in the offing around the following weekend. So stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon to see if that colder and snowier weather is still in our future.

Better overnight snowmaking temperatures this week

Sunday, November 21, 2021

The skies over Steamboat Springs have turned crystal blue with temperatures in the upper thirties this Sunday afternoon. Temperatures will rise at least ten degrees on Monday and Tuesday ahead of colder weather for Wednesday and Thanksgiving Day, but with only a small chance of snowfall. For the projected opening of the Steamboat Ski Resort on Saturday, the best news is snowmaking will be possible for at least some of each night with the forecast cold overnight temperatures in the low twenties.

Sunshine Peak from Village Dr. on 21 Nov 2021The top of Sunshine Peak looks great this afternoon as it shows off the 6” of natural snowfall received from yesterday’s storm, though less than an inch fell around town. But this winter coat will have a tough time hanging on as a ridge of high pressure currently over the West Coast moves overhead on Monday and Tuesday.

Clear and sunny skies for Monday and most of Tuesday will allow high temperatures to soar to ten to fifteen degrees above our average of 37 F. Meanwhile, a storm currently in the Gulf of Alaska will move across the Pacific Northwest on Monday and Idaho on Tuesday. Additionally, that piece of energy off the California coast leftover from our Saturday storm will be incorporated into the Idaho storm to create an expansive area of low pressure forecast to move across the Rockies on Wednesday.

While this sounds good, there just is not much moisture associated with the storm, and most of it will fall to our north on Tuesday night and south on Wednesday, leaving us with only a small chance of light snow showers. While the lack of precipitation will be disappointing, the quite cold air mass forecast to be dragged through our area starting Tuesday night will help snowmaking efforts, with high temperatures on a cloudy Wednesday in the low thirties.

More cool weather is forecast for what should be a beautifully crisp and sunny Thanksgiving Day as a reinforcing wave of cold and dry air follows Wednesday night, with temperatures rising to around average.

Another wave may graze our area on Friday, though current forecasts have that weak wave staying north of our area, with another ridge of high pressure moving overhead for the weekend. I’ll have more details on what is hopefully the Steamboat Ski Resort’s opening day on Saturday¬† in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thanksgiving Day.

Small storm for Saturday

Thursday, November 18, 2021

After the coldest temperature of the season so far reached 9 F at the Bob Adams Airport early this Thursday morning, sunny skies with temperatures in the mid-forties are over the Steamboat Springs area this mid-afternoon. Warmer temperatures with some clouds on Friday will precede a small storm on Saturday with light snowfall possible at all elevations. The sun returns on a cool Sunday and will be followed by a nice and warm Monday, with unsettled weather back in our future as soon as Tuesday afternoon.

A storm currently crossing the Washington state coast will weaken and be pushed eastward across the Great Basin on Friday by an advancing ridge of high pressure developing in the Gulf of Alaska. While the storm will graze our area early Saturday morning, some incoming Pacific moisture and energy will slingshot around the southern portion of the storm and move across our area Friday morning.

Not much more than clouds are expected, with partly sunny skies and temperatures approaching fifty degrees returning for Friday afternoon. Incidentally, we’ve just crossed the forty degree mark for our average high temperature, so Friday’s high temperature will be close to or around ten degrees above normal.

Breezes from generally the west will increase Friday afternoon as clouds increase during the evening ahead of the main storm. Temperatures will be cold enough for snow when the best precipitation moves by early Saturday morning through noon or so. The storm has trended a bit stronger in the latest weather forecast models, and it looks like we could see an inch or two of snow down in the Yampa Valley with 3-6” at the top of Mt. Werner by Saturday afternoon. There could be briefly moderate to even heavy snowfall during this period which could make travel over Rabbit Ears Pass difficult at times.

Snowfall will quickly taper off after noon, though showers will continue through the afternoon in our favorable cool, moist and unstable flow from the northwest. Interestingly, the southern part of the storm is forecast to elongate into the Desert Southwest as it passes through on Saturday, eventually leaving some energy behind off the southern California coast that may be a player in our weather next week.

Another quick-moving but dry wave from the northwest will pass through Sunday morning after mixing with some cold air over British Columbia, so expect a cool and sunny Sunday with temperatures around average and similar to Saturday.

Much warmer temperatures are forecast to start the work week as that strengthening Pacific ridge of high pressure moves through, with unsettled weather possible by later Tuesday depending on what happens to the energy left behind the California coast and the next Pacific storm. I’ll have more to say about that and how it may affect the very busy travel period heading up to Thanksgiving in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon.

Cooler weather with some snow arrives midweek

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Partly sunny skies with temperatures around fifty degrees are over the Steamboat Springs area early this Sunday afternoon. More sun and warmer temperatures are forecast for Monday, while Tuesday sees another day of warm temperatures but increasing clouds ahead of a cold front Tuesday night. The cold air will be here by Wednesday, but moisture is lacking so snowfall will be meager. Thursday looks to start cold and will be dry, with more warming on Friday ahead of another chance for snow during the weekend.

An expansive ridge of high pressure is currently sandwiched between a low pressure area extending from the Gulf of Alaska southward to Hawaii and another extending from Hudson Bay southward through the Great Lakes. Some quite cold air has moved southward into the Gulf of Alaska and will be forced eastward by the eastward-moving area of low pressure over the Pacific, bringing a storm into the Pacific Northwest around Monday night.

The flow from the northwest that is currently over our area will dry over the rest of today and tomorrow and winds will turn to be from the west ahead of the Pacific Northwest storm. So look for mostly sunny skies on Monday with temperatures in the mid-fifties or even approaching sixty degrees, around fifteen degrees above our average of 42 F.

The main part of the storm is forecast to move through Washington and Oregon on Monday and northern Idaho and Montana on Tuesday, grazing our area with a cold front late Tuesday or early Wednesday. Winds and clouds will increase ahead of the front during the day Tuesday, with a chance for some showers with meager snow accumulations first at the higher elevations by Tuesday afternoon and then all elevations from Tuesday night through Wednesday morning.

We will go from high temperatures around fifteen degrees above average on Tuesday to five to ten degrees below average on Wednesday, but the moisture goes away behind the storm, along with any chances for more snowfall after Wednesday morning.

Thursday morning will start cold, but high temperatures will warm to near average under sunny skies as a transient ridge of high pressure moves through ahead of another storm forecast to cross the West Coast Thursday night.

This storm has a chance to bring cooler temperatures and some snowfall back to our area between Friday night and mid-Saturday, which is the day the Steamboat Ski Resort is scheduled to open. However, the coming two storms certainly won’t be game-changers, and our best snow for the week will be of the man-made variety. Stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon where I’ll discuss how that weekend storm is shaping up.

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23 November 2021

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