Shower chances and some smoke for the weekend

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Temperatures in the low eighties and mostly sunny skies are over Steamboat Springs this Thursday afternoon. After the past couple of days of cooler weather with some hints of fall, the more usual summertime weather returns for the weekend with chances for showers each day. And unfortunately it appears like we will see some smoke from the wildfires burning in Idaho.

A ridge of high pressure currently sitting over the Intermountain West is under assault by an eddy located over Lake Tahoe slowly moving east and a developing storm over Wisconsin moving south. The center of the high pressure is currently over Idaho and part of it is forecast to move southeastward toward Colorado tonight. A chaotic pattern then emerges that will make the specifics of a weather forecast difficult, especially for north-central Colorado.

After a warm and dry day today, with high temperatures several degrees above our average of 81 F, we should see increasing haze on Friday as smoke from the Idaho wildfires moves overhead thanks to the southward moving high pressure cell. By the afternoon, that cell is forecast to be dissipating over central Colorado, but not before encouraging monsoonal moisture from the south to eventually move over our area by the afternoon, bringing the chance of afternoon and evening thunderstorms. While the storms are far from certain, we should at least see some clouds around which should give us several degrees of cooling.

By Saturday, that Lake Tahoe eddy is forecast to slide into the Great Basin, with the southerly flow ahead of the eddy encouraging more monsoonal moisture to move over Colorado. The winds overhead will be variable, and it is not clear if the smoke hangs around and if we see better moisture, so a chance of afternoon storms remain, including the possibility that they may occur overnight. And if we get the storms, rainfall could be heavy at times along with small hail, frequent lighting and gusty winds.

By Sunday, it appears the Great Basin eddy will have moved far enough east to directly affect our weather, so expect good chances for showers during the day and overnight, with high temperatures around average. This looks to extend into Monday followed by a drying trend, but check back for my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon to see if that forecast persists.

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23 June 2017

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