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Pleasant weekend ahead for a change

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Temperatures are around seventy degrees under mostly sunny skies in the Steamboat Springs area this Thursday mid-afternoon. The weekend looks to remain dry and pleasant for only the second time in the last two months, though there will be some clouds around along with increasing afternoon breezes.

Back to last weekend, that foot of snow we received at the top of the Steamboat Ski Resort and the cold temperatures have finally allowed the equivalent liquid water in the current snowpack to exceed the past thirty year median for the first time since the beginning of February, as we now stand at 110% of median as indicated in the first chart on the left (the green line is the 1991-2020 median while the black line is the current measurement). Of course, there is not much snow left so that number is not particularly significant, but the following graph of total precipitation during the current water year which started on October 1 indicates a healthy 97% of median.

SWEPrecipitation Water Equivalent in the Yampa-White-Little Snake basin

It looks like the current measurements will not be augmented through the weekend as a ridge of high pressure moves through the West this weekend ahead of a complex storm evolving in the Gulf of Alaska. Several waves of energy and moisture ejecting out of the storm will ride through the ridge of high pressure and bring some increased cloudiness on Friday, as well as Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Afternoon breezes do look to increase for the weekend, though, with gusts as high as 40 mph possible at the higher elevations.

One of these waves looks to give us the best chance of precipitation to start the work week, currently forecast for Monday, though that should not interfere with the dry weekend forecast. So enjoy the pleasant weather, and check back on Sunday afternoon where I’ll discuss what the weather for the coming work week will be in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative.

Cool and wet weather for Memorial Day clears by midweek

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Cold and rainy weather is over the Steamboat Springs area this Sunday mid-afternoon, with even six inches of snow observed near the top of the Steamboat Ski Resort! More moderate to sometimes heavy precipitation is in store through the rest of today and the overnight hours before we see a still cold but less showery Memorial Day with temperatures struggling to reach fifty degrees. Temperatures will warm a bit on Tuesday even as afternoon showers remain before pleasant weather returns midweek and lasts into the weekend.

The compex storm currently over the West and discussed in my last weather narrative Thursday afternoon has largely evolved as forecast, with a weak cool front yesterday followed by overnight showers that brought around four tenths of an inch of rain to the valley and 4.5” of snow near the top of Mt. Werner. While we did see some sun early in the day, a strong cold front that passed through at 10 am this morning has dropped temperatures into the mid-forties, around twenty five degrees below our average of 68 F, along with additional rounds of precipitation.

More of the same is expected for the rest of today and evening as a large part of the storm continues to move overhead. Precipitation decreases and becomes more showery after midnight as snow levels continue to fall, so we may see some snowflakes in town on Memorial Day morning.

Temperatures will struggle again to reach fifty degrees on Monday, and while the precipitation will moderate, it will not end as showers persist through the day, especially in the afternoon. More accumulating snow at the higher elevations will fortunately continue to add to our snowpack even at this late date.

The last part of the storm lingering in the Great Basin will move overhead by Tuesday night, with weather forecast models trending further north and weaker. It now looks like we will see a relatively nice day as compared to the preceding two, with periods of sun during the first half of the day, temperatures reaching the mid-fifties and the chance of afternoon and overnight showers as the last of the storm moves past.

The precipitation from this storm cycle looks to end by Wednesday morning as a ridge of high pressure builds over the West behind the departing storm, with temperatures warming toward sixty degrees as the sun returns. The warming trend continues for the rest of the work week, with dry weather and temperatures reaching the upper-sixties on Thursday and returning to the low-seventies on Friday.

While the current forecast has the nice weather persisting into next weekend, that may change in succeeding weather forecasts as several Pacific weather disturbances move just to our north. So stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon where we’ll see if we can eke out a second dry weekend in the last two months to start the month of June. And for those tired of the wet weekends, remember the high country adage that May showers bring June wildflowers!

Beautiful start to Memorial Day weekend turns unsettled by Sunday

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Gorgeous weather with temperatures in the low seventies and bluebird skies are over the Steamboat Springs area this Thursday afternoon. We’ll start the long Memorial Day weekend with similarly pleasant weather, though the winds increase and skies cloud over on Saturday ahead of several weather disturbances that will bring unsettled weather back to our area from Sunday through Memorial Day and possibly into Tuesday.

Currently, a ridge of high pressure over the West has built ahead of a developing storm in the Gulf of Alaska, bringing the beautiful late spring weather overhead with temperatures running about five degrees above our average of 67 F. Friday will be similar with slightly warmer temperatures and breezier, though there may be some afternoon clouds and a stray shower as some energy ejects out ahead of that Gulf of Alaska storm.

By Saturday, the Gulf of Alaska storm will evolve in a complex fashion as incoming Pacific subtropical moisture and energy mix with cold air from the northern latitudes. Several centers of circulation are forecast to form within the storm while it lumbers east, crossing the Pacific Northwest coast tonight and taking up residence in the Great Basin through the entirety of the long Memorial Day weekend.

Winds will substantially increase to be from the southwest ahead of the storm on Saturday, with warm temperatures persisting and clouds increasing through the day, knocking a few degrees off the high temperatures from Friday.

A weak cool front may pass through as early as Saturday night, though some weather forecast models keep that to our west until Sunday when a strong cold front passes through. High temperatures look to drop around twenty degrees from Saturday into the fifties, along with rain and rain showers and afternoon and evening thunderstorms. Snow levels will fall from 10,000′ Saturday night to 8,000′ by Memorial Day morning, so those camping in the high country should be prepared for the summerlike conditions that start the weekend to turn winterlike on Sunday.

It looks like the bulk of the precipitation should occur Sunday and Sunday night, though expect a cool and showery Memorial Day with high temperatures struggling to reach fifty degrees. Weather forecast models agree that a large part of the storm will still be to our west on Monday night, leading to at least another cool and showery day on Tuesday as what is left of the storm moves nearby or possibly overhead, though disagree on the amount of precipitation.

So enjoy the gorgeous start to the Memorial Day weekend, and know that the region will experience beneficial precipitation for the seventh weekend out of eight since Closing Weekend at the Steamboat Ski Resort. I’ll be back Sunday afternoon with a more detailed look at the weather for Memorial Day, the possibility of more precipitation on Tuesday and what looks like a warming and drying trend starting midweek.

Nice weather returns midweek

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Temperatures are currently in the upper fifties under a mix of clouds and sun in Steamboat Springs this Sunday mid-afternoon. While we look to remain dry for the rest of today, two more weather disturbances for tonight and Tuesday morning will keep the cool weather and chances for light precipitation around to start the work week. But the unsettled weather looks to clear by Wednesday as temperatures reach the sixties under mostly sunny skies with seventies forecast to close out the work week.

Drifting snow from the 30 mph ENE gusts between 9 pm Friday 20 May 2022 and 4 am Saturday 21 May 2022 on the Steamboat PowdercamThe past wintry storm produced between six and seven tenths of an inch of liquid water over our area, with about six inches of snow falling on my deck by 7 am last Friday morning and another 3” by noon. About a foot of snow fell at mid-mountain and above, with snow at all elevations showing considerable settling during the day. Winds turned to be from the northwest during Friday to the east-northeast overnight, and the time-lapse movie of the Steamboat Powdercam at the top of Sunshine Peak shows impressive snow dune formation and propagation between 9:40 pm Friday night and 4 am Saturday morning, as sustained winds of 15-25 mph and gusts to 30 mph transported the freshly fallen snow.

Currently, clouds are increasing ahead of a disturbance crossing the Great Basin. While we will likely stay dry through this evening, showers should begin ahead of the cold front at the higher elevations around midnight with snowflakes possible down to the Yampa Valley floor when the cold front passes early Monday morning.

Though showers will decrease after the front, they may reappear in the afternoon in the favorable cool, moist and unstable northwest flow. But high temperatures will only reach the low-fifties, which is almost fifteen degrees below our average of 66 F, which may limit the strength and duration of any showers.

The second cool front from a storm currently in the Pacific Northwest will pass through early Tuesday with initially little shower potential. But with temperatures eventually rising about five degrees above Monday, there may be enough surface heating for some afternoon showers.

This stretch of unsettled weather breaks by Wednesday as a ridge of high pressure moves over the West. Look for lots of sun and temperatures reaching the sixties, with seventies expected on Thursday. Early indications are that the nice weather will stick around to close the work week as we head into the long Memorial Day weekend, though unsettled weather may return for part of the weekend. So check back Thursday afternoon for my next regularly scheduled weather narrative when I’ll have more details about the weather for the holiday weekend that unofficially marks the start of summer.

Wintry weather arrives tonight

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Temperatures are in the low seventies under partly sunny skies and winds are ripping out of the southwest this Thursday mid-afternoon in Steamboat Springs ahead of a very strong cold front timed for tonight. We’ll wake up to snow on Friday morning and see afternoon high temperatures over thirty degrees below today! And with more snow into Saturday and continued cold temperatures, this weekend will feel more wintry than summery.

A storm that had been developing this week in the Gulf of Alaska has been pushed eastward by a building ridge of high pressure that has taken its place, and is currently moving across the Pacific Northwest. Cold air has been pouring into the storm from both western and central Canada, leading to the current very windy conditions as air is accelerated between the very cold airmass to our northwest and the very warm airmass to our southeast.

A strong cold front is forecast to pass through our area tonight, with the leading edge of cold air arriving this evening. A number of disturbances will reinforce the storm through the weekend and the beginning of the work week, so don’t expect a quick recovery back to our current summery weather.

While the Front Range, and more so the foothills, will see the brunt of the snowfall, we should wake up to some snow on the non-paved surfaces down in town Friday morning, with snowfall tapering off later in the morning and afternoon before picking up again Friday night. And expect unseasonably cold temperatures through the weekend, most pronounced on Friday as temperatures struggle to get much above 40 F, which is 25 F below our average of 65 F.

The cold unsettled weather will stick around on Saturday, and though we may see showers, especially in the afternoon, the bulk of the accumulating precipitation should be over by Saturday evening. We could see 2-5” of accumulated snowfall in town and 5-10” at the top of the Steamboat Ski Resort, which can be examined through the Steamboat Powdercam and Steamboat mid-mountain Powedercam. If skies clear or even partially clear Saturday night, look for low temperatures five to ten degrees below our average of 34 F.

Temperatures should recover into the fifties on Sunday, though the unsettled weather looks to stick around through the beginning of the work week as another two disturbances are forecast to rotate through the area of low pressure over the West. Weather forecast models disagree on the timing and amplitude of these additional disturbances, but showery weather currently looks possible from Sunday afternoon through Tuesday, albeit with slowly warming temperatures. Lot’s of weather to get through before then , so stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon where I’ll have more details on next week’s weather.

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7 July 2020

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