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Weather turns unsettled by midweek

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Mostly sunny skies filtered by high clouds and temperatures in the teens in town and around twenty near the top of Mt. Werner are over the Steamboat Springs area this Sunday noon. More of the same is expected for Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Tuesday before several passing disturbances turn the weather cooler and unsettled by Wednesday. One of these disturbances may bring a good chance of snowfall by the end of the work week.

A broad ridge of high pressure is currently centered over the West Coast while a complex trough of low pressure sits over the eastern half of North America. Additionally, an eddy cut off from the main jet stream sits off the coast of California, but is currently trapped under the ridge of high pressure.

While a Nor’Easter is forecast to develop over the next day from a storm currently centered over Georgia, our area will see benign and pleasant weather for tomorrow and Tuesday. The sunny day forecast for Martin Luther King Jr. Day will give way to some clouds on Tuesday in advance of an unsettled period of weather starting on Wednesday and punctuated by a possible storm on Friday.

The unsettled weather will be caused by weather disturbances in the Pacific traveling over the top of the ridge of high pressure over the West and mixing with the cold air in central Canada that is associated with the eastern trough of low pressure.

The big uncertainty for our area is the amount of moisture that will be contained in the Pacific disturbances and the amount of cold air eventually mixed into the storms. Right now, a mostly dry cold front is forecast for Wednesday, but there could be some snow showers that will struggle to produce accumulating snowfall as sparse moisture from that now-eastward-moving eddy from off the California coast mixes with the disturbance.

Another dry cold front is forecast for Thursday, with the final and most potent storm of this series forecast for Friday. There has been a lot of uncertainty both between and within the weather forecast models as to the amount of moisture in this storm, and it stems from how much subtropical moisture currently north of Hawaii gets mixed into a Pacific disturbance currently approaching the Dateline.

The weather forecast models have trended toward a stronger and wetter system these past few iterations, and there is a now a possibility of some not insignificant snow by the end of the work week. So stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon as the details of hopefully our next powder day emerge.

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10 July 2020

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