Warming temperatures and increasing winds ahead of cold front later Saturday

Thursday, May 5, 2022

After a rainy start to the day, skies have cleared and temperatures have warmed into the mid-fifties in the town of Steamboat Springs this Thursday mid-afternoon. Temperatures will further warm into the sixties on Friday and Saturday as winds increase from the west and southwest ahead of a grazing cold front timed for Saturday afternoon or evening. Temperatures will be knocked back by about ten degrees on Sunday, though it is not clear if we see a couple more grazing cool fronts on Sunday and Monday nights.

Though town saw rain showers this morning, snow was observed on Mt. Werner, with two day storm totals of around 5” at mid-mountain and 7.5” up top. While this has not significantly added to our snowpack, it has at least arrested the seasonal decline for a couple of days, with the Yampa-White-Little Snake basin showing the current snow water equivalent as being 89% of the 30 year running mean.

An expansive area of low pressure currently over the entire Gulf of Alaska is forecast to evolve through the weekend as cold air from the north and northwest interacts with approaching Pacific moisture and energy. Weather forecast models have trended deeper and slower with the bulk movement of the low pressure area; indeed the mid-weekend storm that looked far more promising only a few days ago is now forecast to stay mostly to our west through the weekend.

Many waves of moisture will move through this area of low pressure through the following week, with some strengthening the system in place while others move through. One wave currently crossing the Pacific Northwest will move to our north on Friday and have no affect on our weather, but the next one looks to drag a grazing cold front through northern Colorado later Saturday afternoon or evening. Ahead of that, high temperatures warm into the sixties on Friday and Saturday, around five degrees or so above our average of 60 F, with mostly sunny skies on Friday giving way to a mix of sun and clouds on Saturday.

Winds from the west will pick up on Saturday as the cold front approaches, with the best chance of showers centered around Saturday night. It is not clear if some of the cold air filters in Saturday afternoon or waits for the evening, but the system should be warm enough for snow accumulations of 1-4” to be confined to the higher elevations by Sunday morning.

A couple more waves are forecast to pass through the system on Sunday and Monday nights, though it is not clear if they will be close enough to do much more than knock high temperatures back into the fifties along with a chance of some passing showers, most likely on Sunday afternoon and evening.

What seems to be clearer, however, is that the bulk of our storm to our west will stay to our west as it is reinvigorated by some cold air from Siberia during the work week. This should lead to more wind and temperatures reaching into the seventies by midweek. A large amount of uncertainty exists after then, so stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon for a peek at what we may see after the midweek warming.

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18 May 2018

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