Thursday, December 1, 2022
A beautiful day is over the Steamboat Springs area this Thursday noon with mostly sunny skies and temperatures around freezing. While winds are calm in town they are blowing around 20 mph at the top of the Steamboat Ski Resort in advance of of our next cold and blustery storm peaking Friday morning. A short break into Saturday morning will be followed by a quick moving and warm storm from about Saturday afternoon into Sunday.
A storm currently pounding the Sierras is forecast to move across the Great Basin tonight before reaching our area early Friday morning. The breezy conditions at the top of Mt Werner will become very windy through the night as the storm approaches with gusts as high as 60 mph out of the south and southwest by midnight and 70 mph by sunrise.
Wind driven snow should be over our area early Friday morning, with the cold front associated with the storm moving through around mid-morning. The Friday snow report may not show much, but periods of moderate and heavy snows through noon and additional showers after noon may allow storm accumulations to reach 5-10” by Friday afternoon. We are likely to see another midnight special on Friday where the high temperature for the day is recorded right at midnight, with steadily falling temperatures through the day falling to near zero at the top of Mt. Werner by Friday afternoon.
Lifts may be affected by the wind, and driving will be difficult to even impossible at times around the heaviest showers which may approach two inches per hour. These heavier showers accompanied by strong winds may prompt the issuance of a Snow Squall Warning from the National Weather Service and drivers are encouraged to just pull over and wait out the squall, which may last several minutes or tens of minutes. Good advice even in the absence of an official warning if you can’t see where you are going!
So, after the fireworks during the day Friday, expect clearing skies and a cold Saturday morning with low temperatures around zero, about ten degrees below our average of 9 F. But temperatures will quickly moderate during the day as the winds turn to be from the southwest ahead of the next weather maker currently over the Aleutian Islands and forecast to evolve off the California coast starting on Friday.
Weather forecast models agree that some moisture will be drawn over our area from Baja and start a warmer round of snow showers as early as Saturday afternoon. There is uncertainty at even this close range as to how much moisture will be present and whether a stationary front separating the cold air to our north from the warm air to our south forms overhead, but we could see 3-6” of denser snow by Sunday morning.
A break in the active weather pattern is currently forecast from later Sunday through Monday, though there is considerable uncertainty as to how that California storm evolves. Right now, a piece of the storm that may be similar to the Saturday night wave is forecast for our area on Tuesday, with a break on Wednesday followed by what is left of the storm to end the work week. But check back to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon as that forecast will likely evolve through the next several days.