Thursday, January 20, 2022
After a couple inches of very light powder fell last night, a mix of sun and clouds are over the Steamboat Springs area this Thursday noon, with more clouds than sun at the higher elevations and temperatures ranging from ten degrees near the top of Mt Werner to the low-twenties at the Bob Adams airport. A splitting storm will pass through our area on Friday after which dry weather is expected through the weekend.
A persistent ridge of high pressure currently located just off the West Coast is under attack by an incoming Pacific storm. There has been a lot of uncertainty with respect to the strength, moisture content and track of the storm this week, and weather forecast models have settled on a splitting storm that will bring another round of light accumulations to our area on Friday.
While the storm is currently relatively coherent as it crosses the Pacific Northwest coast, it is unfortunately forecast to split almost perfectly around us on Friday, with the southwestern part heading into the western Great Basin and the northern part racing across the Northern Plains. We will see a cold front move through around or just before the 5 am ski report, with the best snow expected through noon or so before the snow turns more showery in the afternoon and tapers off in the evening. We could see a 3-6” storm total between Thursday and Friday nights, with the bulk of the snow falling Friday morning after the ski report.
We will then be left in the col between the southwestern part of the storm and the jet stream, which will flow around a rebuilding ridge of high pressure centered over the Pacific Northwest and into the persistent area of low pressure extending southward and southwestward from Hudson Bay. As such, expect periods of sun and clouds with temperatures in the Yampa Valley warming from around our average of 27 F on Saturday to the low and mid-thirties by Sunday.
Another Pacific disturbance similar to the storm tomorrow is forecast for around Tuesday, with clouds increasing Monday ahead of the storm. There is weather forecast model disagreement on whether the storm will split, but I’ll certainly know more about that in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon.