Roller coaster weather week ahead

Sunday, March 13, 2022

After a beautiful Sunday morning in Steamboat Springs with nary a cloud in sight, skies have clouded over and snows have just started late this afternoon. Even though snowfall is likely to become moderate to heavy at times by this evening, the storm is quick-moving and only modest amounts of snowfall are expected by Monday morning. Tuesday should be a beautiful springlike day ahead of a couple of days of unsettled weather for Wednesday and Thursday, with nice weather returning as we head into next weekend.

A storm currently on our doorstep and another in the Gulf of Alaska are lined up to affect our weather this week. The current storm is moving through Utah and has already left 6” of snow at the Alta ski area. Light snows started in Steamboat Springs just before 5 pm, and we should see moderate to sometime heavy snow showers peaking this evening.

While we will see a period of favorable cold, moist and unstable northwest flow on the backside of the storm after midnight, the storm is splitting as it moves over Colorado which will limit additional snowfall. We could see 4-8” of snowfall at mid-mountain by the Monday morning ski report, with accumulating snowfall quickly ending by sunrise. And while snow showers may hold on for some of the morning at the higher elevations, the sun should return for the afternoon, and perhaps during the morning in the valley.

Meanwhile, a ridge of high pressure is forecast to build ahead of the eastward-moving Gulf of Alaska storm, returning warm and sunny weather to our area on Tuesday. That storm is forecast to weaken as it crosses the Pacific Northwest coast on Tuesday and brings the possibility of snows back to our area on Wednesday and Thursday as it moves overhead.

There is uncertainty in exactly how the storm weakens and how much cool air from the northern latitudes is drawn into the storm, but right now it looks like the the first part of the storm will be Wednesday and Wednesday night under relatively warm temperatures, with a lull early Thursday followed by the cooler part of the storm Thursday afternoon and night. My snowfall guess at this time is 1-4” from each part of the storm before we see clearing skies on a cool Friday morning and the likely return of sunshine.

As I did last week, if the midweek storm looks like it is evolving into something bigger than forecast here, I’ll post an update Tuesday afternoon. Otherwise, I’ll be back Thursday afternoon with my regularly scheduled weather narrative to discuss the next possibly significant storm soon after what looks like a mostly nice weekend.

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30 April 2022

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