Cold with passing snow showers this work week

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Sunny skies and temperatures in the low twenties are over Steamboat Springs this Sunday mid-morning, on their way to the upper thirties. Today will be the warmest day of the work week as a series of moisture-starved weather disturbances periodically drag reinforcing surges of cold from the north through our area. These look to bring the possibility of light snow showers through most of the work week, though any accumulations will be meager.

Our area will be sandwiched between a deep and cold trough of low pressure currently located over the Northern Plains and Canadian Plains and a ridge of high pressure off the West Coast that is forecast to strengthen through the work week. Light winds generally out of the north and northwest will carry several relatively dry and cold surges of air over our area from either Pacific disturbances traveling over the ridge of high pressure to our west or rotating around the trough of low pressure to our east, or both, through the work week.

But first, an eddy currently near Las Vegas will move through the Desert Southwest through Monday. While only southern Colorado may be close enough to see some light accumulating snows from the system, our area will see a cold front pass through tonight as the eddy grabs some cold air from the Northern Plains trough. There may be some snowflakes with the frontal passage, but dropping temperatures will be the most noticeable effect, with high temperatures on Monday relegated to the upper twenties, about fifteen degrees below our average of 43 F, and low temperatures in the low teens, about five degrees below our average of 18 F.

The next wave of cold air is timed for early Tuesday and we should see a better chance for light snow showers through the day, with meager accumulations possible at all elevations, along with temperatures dropping a couple of degrees. Another similar but drier wave is forecast for Wednesday with a slightly stronger and longer lasting one for later Thursday into Friday morning as Pacific energy rounding the ridge of high pressure off the West Coast mixes with a lobe of energy rotating around the Northern Plains trough of low pressure. We will probably see our best chances for accumulating snowfall during this time period, though accumulations will be quite light with several inches possible at best.

A strong storm currently developing south of the Aleutian Islands is forecast to move east through the work week, and interact with the ridge of high pressure off the West Coast by the weekend. This looks to change the current weather pattern as the weakening ridge of high pressure moves inland and kicks the Northern Plains trough of low pressure to the northeast.

There is some disagreement on the timing of the pattern change among the longer range weather forecast models, with the American GFS currently advertising warmer weather earlier in the weekend and the European ECMWF holding that back a day. I should know more about that by my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon, and I also expect to take a peek at what follows this pattern change as the Steamboat Ski Resort prepares for its opening day on Wednesday, November 23.

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21 May 2021

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