Sunday, December 4, 2022
After three inches of snowfall was reported at the Steamboat Ski Resort this Sunday morning, temperatures have warmed into the mid-thirties over the Steamboat Springs area under cloudy skies this mid-afternoon. An active weather pattern remains over our area this week leading to periods of snow possibly lasting into Thursday, with a good round of snowfall likely during the day Monday and overnight.
An eddy of low pressure is currently off the California coast and a deep vortex of very cold air is spinning over Hudson Bay. A stationary front is forecast to form over our area on Monday as energy ejecting out of the California eddy from the west and southwest meets cold air to our north rotating around the Hudson Bay vortex.
Some light snow showers have already started near the top of Mt. Werner, and these showers are forecast to descend and become moderate at times through the day on Monday and overnight. The accumulated snow will be denser than our last week of snowfall as temperatures will be warmer thanks to the warmer air from the west and southwest ahead of the California eddy.
There may be only an inch or two on Steamboat’s mid-mountain powdercam by the 5 am Monday morning report, but snowfall rates should increase during the day and overnight as energy ejects out ahead of the California eddy and rides over the stationary front. We could see an additional 3-6” by sunset and that again overnight for a 6-12” Tuesday morning report. And it’s always worth checking Steamboat’s upper mountain powdercam as there is often more snow at the higher elevation.
Meanwhile, a storm currently near the Dateline, which may affect us by next weekend, is forecast to move eastward through the work week and eventually nudge what is left of the California eddy near or over our area by Thursday. While weather forecast models agree that snowfall at least diminishes later Tuesday, they disagree on whether it will end for a time or we see several inches of snowfall Tuesday night and during the day Wednesday.
There is additional uncertainty with respect to the track of what is left of the California eddy, with one model keeping the eddy south of our area with very little additional snow after Tuesday and others bringing the storm closer with a period of moderate snow showers later Wednesday.
They also disagree on how much cold air from a wave spinning around the Hudson Bay vortex gets incorporated into the decaying eddy on Tuesday night as it crosses the Great Basin, but agree on at least some cooling by Thursday morning with briefly clearing skies by the afternoon.
That Dateline storm looks to move over our area during next weekend, though there is a lot of uncertainty as to the details. A large chunk of cold air rotating around the Hudson Bay vortex is forecast to break away, move across Alaska, and eventually be incorporated into the storm as it moves across the Gulf of Alaska around midweek. However the amount of cold air and how it interacts with the storm is not agreed upon by the weather forecast models.
So enjoy the snowy work week, and I’ll be back with my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon with more details about the weather for the coming weekend.
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.
Sunday, November 27, 2022
Temperatures are around thirty degrees under cloudy skies this Sunday noon in Steamboat Springs after the Steamboat Ski Resort reported two inches at mid-mountain and three inches up top on the 5 am ski report. We should see some peeks of sun today and a cloudy Monday ahead of an arctic front that will bring moderate to sometimes heavy snowfall to our area from later Monday through Tuesday, along with very cold temperatures. The snows will end Tuesday night but the cold will stick around on Wednesday before temperatures moderate for the rest of the work week ahead of a snowy weather pattern that likely starts around next weekend.
A vigorous storm currently affecting the Pacific Northwest will continue to mix with arctic air from western Canada as it moves through through the Cascades on Monday and the Great Basin early on Tuesday. A piece of energy ejecting out ahead of the storm will keep the skies from turning mostly sunny for early this afternoon, as originally expected in my last Thursday weather narrative, though the peeks of sun and perhaps sunny late afternoon will be gone tomorrow as thicker clouds invade our area ahead of the approaching storm.
The arctic front will be on our northern doorstep by Monday afternoon with snow showers likely starting at the higher elevations up north by the afternoon. The front should blast through our area by mid-evening accompanied by winds and moderate to sometimes heavy snows that should be heaviest from Monday night into Tuesday morning, followed by good snow showers through the rest of the day and Tuesday evening in the favorable cold, moist and unstable flow from the northwest that will make driving over Rabbit Ears pass difficult at times.
I would expect 6-12” of snow between Monday and Tuesday evening, along with very cold temperatures with highs in town relegated to the high teens or low twenties on Tuesday, about fifteen degrees below our average of 34 F, and low temperatures Wednesday morning around zero, about ten degrees below our average of 11 F, or even colder if skies clear by sunrise.
The cold start to Wednesday will warm thanks to mostly sunny skies behind the storm and winds turning to be from the west, bringing warmer air overhead. High temperatures should rise to near thirty degrees, with another nice day on Thursday with continued sunny skies and temperatures rising to near forty degrees.
Meanwhile, another wave currently moving across the Bering Sea is forecast to mix with another chunk of arctic air moving south across Alaska and develop into a strong elongated storm along the West Coast by Thursday. Not only will this storm incorporate subtropical moisture as it extends to the south, but it will also eventually interact with another wave of energy currently moving across the Kamchatka Peninsula.
While we have to get past the significant storm between Monday and Tuesday evenings, it does look like an active and snowy pattern will follow starting around the end of the work week or next weekend. Be sure to stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon as I’ll have a better idea how the upstream pieces evolve and when we may expect our next snowfall.
Thursday, November 24, 2022
After a couple of inches fell on my deck near the base of the Steamboat Ski Resort yesterday afternoon and evening, skies are beginning to clear this Thanksgiving mid-morning over the Steamboat Springs area with temperatures currently in the mid-twenties. Look for the sunny skies by this afternoon continuing through a beautiful Friday with warmer temperatures. A sunny start to Saturday and sunny end to Sunday will bookend a chance of snow showers Saturday night with light accumulations expected.
A splitting storm passed through our area yesterday afternoon and evening and is currently moving south through New Mexico. Even though the official ski report for the Steamboat Ski Resort had 2.5” at mid-mountain and 4” up top, the Steamboat Powdercam and Steamboat mid-mountain Powdercam both showed closer to 2” from the storm. Please keep in mind that while the the upper mountain powdercam is within 10 yards of the official snow stake used for the ski report, it still may accumulate different snow totals thanks to its different location in the snow plot.
Clouds are now dissipating as drier air from the northwest moves overhead, so look for sunny skies by this afternoon with high temperatures reaching into the thirties, a few degrees below our average of 36 F. We should see a gorgeous Friday with sunny skies and temperatures several degrees above average as a weakening ridge of high pressure is pushed overhead by our next storm currently moving eastward through the Gulf of Alaska.
So Saturday should start sunny with increasing clouds in the afternoon and snow showers developing later in the day and continuing overnight. While the storm is quite weak as it moves overhead Saturday night, there is sufficient moisture in the favorable cool northwest flow to produce 1-4” of accumulating snowfall.
Similar to today, a cloudy morning on Sunday should give way to sunny skies as a transient ridge of high pressure moves through the area ahead of the next more significant weather maker currently moving through the Aleutian Islands.
That storm is forecast to mix with a chunk of cold air moving through Alaska and develop into a significant storm with heaviest snowfall over our area currently expected from Monday night into Tuesday. Luckily, the Thanksgiving travel window between midday Sunday and midday Monday looks uneventful, but that changes by later Monday with storm totals in the 6-12” range looking possible between Monday and Tuesday nights.
While there is general weather forecast model agreement on the track, timing and intensity of the storm, be sure to stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon for the latest specifics on this likely significant storm.
Sunday, November 20, 2022
A spectacular bluebird day with temperatures in the mid-thirties is over the Steamboat Springs area this Sunday mid-afternoon. Though morning low temperatures will start chilly this week, look for continued sunny skies with afternoon temperatures warming into the low forties to start the short work week. A quick moving and moisture starved cold front is then forecast to pass through north central Colorado later Wednesday and bring a chance of flurries.
The large area of low pressure that has been over the northern half of North America this past week is vacating our area thanks to an encroaching ridge of high pressure from the west. Dry air under the ridge will bring continued sunny skies on Monday and Tuesday with temperatures warming into the low forties, around five degrees above our average of 38 F.
Thanks to the fresh snow cover, light winds and dry skies, the surface will efficiently cool and bring nighttime temperatures into the single digits, around ten degrees below our average of 14 F.
A piece of a storm currently over the Aleutian Islands is forecast to eject across the Gulf of Alaska and keep the ridge of high pressure moving eastward, eventually bringing a fairly dry cold front through our area Wednesday afternoon or evening. Forecast precipitation from the storm has trended down since my last weather narrative on Thursday, with only a chance for flurries now possible later Wednesday and overnight.
Wednesday and Thursday high temperatures will fall into the thirties, with the clouds associated with the front dissipating later Thanksgiving Day. Another ridge of high pressure looks to move over our area starting on Friday, bringing above average temperatures and mostly sunny skies that may persist through next weekend.
Our next chance for precipitation appears early in the following work week, and I should have some details on that possibility in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon.