Some showers possible through the weekend
Thursday, May 20, 2021
The Steamboat Springs area is seeing gusty winds from the south and temperatures in the low seventies under a mix of sun and clouds early this Thursday afternoon. Modest chances for precipitation peak around mid-weekend before a dry cool front late in the weekend brings drier and a bit cooler weather for the beginning of the work week.
The weather over the continental U.S. is currently dominated by a powerful winter-like storm centered over the Pacific Northwest and a ridge of high pressure over the eastern third of the country. The remnant of that eddy discussed in the last weather narrative is located over the Gulf Coast and disappointingly brought only between a half and one-and-a-half tenths of an inch of precipitation to our area on Monday.
And we saw no precipitation yesterday as the Pacific Northwest storm is stronger and slower-moving than originally forecast. This has reduced the chance for showers on Friday, though some showers with meager precipitation potential will be around Friday afternoon and evening, along with cooler temperatures than today that should be around our average high of 65 F. We will see more wind from the south, though, as the Pacific Northwest storm draws closer while it moves southward through California.
The moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, also discussed in the last weather narrative, is still forecast to be over our area, but just a day later than originally forecast, as the eastern ridge of high pressure expands to the west and directs that moisture into the southerly flow ahead of the California storm. Weather forecast models have no more than very light precipitation forecast from these showers later Saturday and overnight with high temperatures during the day several degrees above Friday.
A lobe of energy and moisture is forecast to eject out ahead of the California storm on Sunday, and bring a renewed chance of showers and a cool front sometime during the day. Our best chance of precipitation will be ahead of and along the front as dry air from the southwest will overspread our area behind the front, with temperatures five to ten degrees below average behind the front.
The California storm is forecast to rotate and weaken as it moves to our northwest late Sunday and into Montana on Monday. We should see dry weather with a mix of sun and clouds through midweek with temperatures a bit below average on Monday warming to around average on Wednesday.
While weather forecast models agree that another couple of weak storms approach the West Coast starting midweek, they disagree on the evolution and amount of interaction between the storms. So the weather for the following weekend is unclear, but I should have a better idea of what may be in store by my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon.
Showers possible for most of the work week
Sunday, May 16, 2021
Mostly sunny skies have returned to the Steamboat Springs area this Sunday afternoon with temperatures around seventy after a few showers passed near our area around noon. A couple of slow-moving storms will increase shower chances through midweek and again around Friday before warmer and drier weather is advertised for next weekend.
An eddy cut off from the jet stream is currently spinning over southern Nevada while a powerful storm evolves in the Gulf of Alaska. The Gulf of Alaska storm is expected to mix with cold air sourced from the North Pole over the next few days before making landfall along the West Coast around Tuesday. The storm will force the Nevada eddy towards the Four Corners region on Monday and across southern Colorado on Tuesday before it is deflected northward across eastern Colorado by a developing ridge of high pressure east of the Mississippi River.
We should see increased chances for afternoon and evening showers on Monday and Tuesday as the Nevada eddy approaches our area, and possibly sometime on Wednesday as the eddy moves northward along Colorado’s eastern border. While the likelihood of showers is high, the amount of water reaching the ground is modest, with perhaps a tenth of an inch or two possible each day.
Thursday looks to be the driest day of the work week behind the departing eddy as increasing winds from the southwest bring warm and dry air over our area. While the West Coast storm is expected to move very little through the weekend as the eastern ridge of high pressure expands westward and blocks any forward progress, a wave of energy and moisture ejecting out of the storm is forecast to move over our area on Friday for increased shower chances.
Depending upon the strength of the wave, our winds may turn to be more from the south and incorporate some additional moisture originally from the Gulf of Mexico, which will directly affect how much moisture we see from the showers.
The West Coast storm is expected to grudgingly move to the northeast through the weekend and into the following work week. Our area will see continued breezes from the southwest along with warm and dry air for a very pleasant and summery feeling weekend. Longer range weather forecast models have this weather persisting into and possibly through the next work week.
Stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon where I’ll review any precipitation amounts from the showers earlier in the work week and have a better idea on how showery Friday may be.
Pleasant weather turns wetter for next week
Thursday, May 13, 2021
Mostly sunny skies with temperatures in the mid-sixties are over the Steamboat Springs area this Thursday afternoon. The current pleasant weather looks to continue through the weekend, with afternoon and early evening shower chances highest on Friday and Sunday ahead of a warm storm system starting early next week.
The jet stream is currently mostly north of our area, though it is close enough for some westerly and northwesterly breezes this afternoon under temperatures about five degrees above our average of 63 F. More of the same is expected for Friday but with an increased chance of afternoon and early evening storms as a weak wave passes to our north.
A stronger wave currently just off the Pacific Northwest is forecast to develop into an eddy cut off from the main jet stream as it travels into the Desert Southwest through the weekend. Winds should turn to be from the southwest by Saturday ahead of the advancing storm, increasing temperatures into the seventies with less of a chance for showers than on Friday as drier air briefly tickles our area through the day.
Temperatures will be similar on Sunday, though chances for afternoon and evening storms increase again as energy begins ejecting out of the eddy. These chances increase further on Monday and Tuesday as the eddy eventually tracks into New Mexico by Tuesday, and high temperatures will cool back to the sixties under increased cloud cover.
The weather forecast becomes more uncertain by midweek as a powerful storm currently off the Aleutian Islands travels across the Gulf of Alaska through the weekend and early next week and makes landfall along the West Coast around Tuesday. Weather forecast models agree that the storm will be largely deflected to our northwest by a developing ridge of high pressure over the Midwest, though disagree on exactly how that will happen. The European ECMWF has a drier solution for midweek as the storm takes a slower and more southern trajectory while the American GFS has a wetter solution as energy and moisture are ejected out over our area ahead of the grazing storm.
And even though there are substantial differences in the placement of the storm by the weekend, they both agree on drier weather returning for the end of the work week and the following weekend. The storm will almost certainly be different that either forecast, so stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon for updates to our coming weather.
Cold and wet weather to start the work week
Sunday, May 9, 2021
Skies have turned cloudy over the Steamboat Springs area early this Sunday afternoon with a temperature of 49 F at the Bob Adams airport. Temperatures won’t rise too much further today before a storm brings colder and wetter weather for Monday and Tuesday. The weather dries and warms starting midweek with a chance of afternoon and evening showers through the rest of the work week ahead of an even warmer, dry and breezy weekend.
The current weather pattern has evolved quite similarly to the forecast in my last weather narrative, and we are left with a developing storm currently in the Great Basin. While there is some clearing in the northwest corner of the state, that may not get here later today as mid-level clouds in flow from the southwest move overhead. So temperatures today look to stay around ten degrees below our average of 62 F.
Energy ejecting out of the Great Basin storm may bring a small chance of showers tonight, though good chances for precipitation begin on Monday as the storm moves over Utah and ejects moisture and energy over our area. It may be cold enough for snowflakes in town Monday morning with a rain-snow mix or all rain under the showers later in the day, but expect daytime highs only in the forties, fifteen to twenty degrees below average.
Showers look to become heavier in the afternoon, helped first by the warmer afternoon temperatures and then by another surge of cool air associated with the approaching center of the storm, which is expected to cross into Colorado Monday evening and pass overhead by early Tuesday morning.
There could be 1-3” of snow around and above Rabbit Ears pass by Monday night before the storm passes overhead and an additional 1-3” during Tuesday in the favorable and unstable moist northwest flow behind the storm. Again we’ll likely see some snowflakes in town overnight and into Tuesday morning in the showery weather before similar temperatures to Monday turn the precipitation into a rain-snow mix or all rain in the afternoon. Showers could produce locally moderate to heavy precipitation rates at times, along with briefly lowering snow levels.
The weather warms and dries on Wednesday, with temperatures rising into the fifties with the reappearance of the sun and a chance of afternoon showers as a flat ridge of high pressure tries to build over the West. More warming into the sixties is expected on Thursday, with a chance for afternoon and evening showers as a wave passes through the ridge to our north.
Another incoming storm is forecast to approach the West Coast near the end of the work week, though it looks to split and it is not clear how much energy is partitioned between the northern and southern parts of the storm, and whether the southern portion makes landfall. In any event, warming into the seventies is expected for Friday and through most of the weekend ahead of the storm. There may be a chance for showers later Friday before very dry air moves overhead for most of the weekend accompanied by breezy winds from the west and southwest on Saturday and windier weather from the southwest on Sunday.
The timing and evolution of the next storm for the end of the weekend or the beginning of the next work week is very uncertain at this time, so stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon for more details on the weather for the end of the weekend.
Back to unsettled weather after a beautiful couple of days
Thursday, May 6, 2021
Bluebird skies and temperatures in the low sixties, on their way toward the seventies, are over the Steamboat Springs area this Thursday noon. While the nice weather hangs around for tomorrow with even warmer temperatures, the weather starts turning unsettled for the weekend with good chances for rain and even snowflakes for the beginning of the work week.
The ridge of high pressure currently over the West is sandwiched between two deep and cold areas of low pressure extending southward from the Gulf of Alaska and Hudson Bay. Another storm moving eastward from the Aleutian Islands will force the Gulf of Alaska storm across Idaho on Friday and into Montana on Saturday. We’ll see another beautiful day tomorrow ahead of the storm with even warmer temperatures than today and some breezy winds from the southwest.
The storm will initially pass north of our area on Saturday, though it will be close enough to drag a cold front through sometime around noon, with high temperatures for the day five or so degrees below our average of 61 F. The front is fairly dry, but there will be a chance of showers around the frontal passage and later in the day.
The storm evolves on Sunday as cold air and energy from the Hudson Bay storm rotates into the storm over Montana and elongates it to the southwest, forming a secondary storm that is forecast to be over the Great Basin on Monday and over our area on Tuesday. Ahead of that secondary storm, expect Sunday afternoon to be similar to Saturday with temperatures in the fifties and a chance of afternoon storms.
Precipitation chances increase substantially by Sunday night and Monday as energy and moisture eject out of the newly-formed Great Basin storm. The cold air originally from the Hudson Bay area begins filtering into our area later Monday, and it may be cold enough for snowflakes in town Monday night, with several inches of snow possible over Rabbit Ears Pass.
Another inch or two is possible during the day Tuesday up there while town will see more good chances for rain as the storm passes overhead. Precipitation should become more showery in the favorable, moist and unstable northwest flow behind the storm by Tuesday afternoon, with some of those showers possibly producing brief but locally moderate to heavy precipitation rates.
We should see some sun by Wednesday with temperatures warming back towards average and a chance of an afternoon storm as the atmosphere slowly dries behind the departing storm.
Weather forecast models agree on more sun and additional warming for Thursday, though disagree on the evolution of that eastward-moving storm originally over the Aleutian Islands. The European ECMWF has the storm strengthening west of our area through the weekend, keeping the nice weather around into the weekend, while the American GFS has the storm quickly moving to our north and grazing our area for a cooler Friday with some showers.
I would expect changes to the weather forecast over the coming days, so stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon for more details on the wet and cool weather currently advertised for the beginning of the work week.