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Spring storms with some snow to bookend the weekend

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Temperatures in the mid-sixties and cloudy skies are over the Steamboat Springs area this Thursday mid-afternoon. Our chance to reach seventy degrees in the near term looks like it will be thwarted by clouds today, a couple of cold fronts set to bookend the weekend and more unsettled weather for the following work week.

Clouds ahead of a storm currently moving through the Pacific Northwest have tempered our high temperatures for today with a cold front forecast to move through our area soon after sunrise Friday. Most of the precipitation will be through early afternoon, with snowflakes in town and any minor accumulations confined to grassy surfaces. High temperatures will plummet from the mid-sixties today, about ten degrees above our average of 58 F to the mid-forties on Friday, ten to fifteen degrees below average, along with breezy winds from the northwest. A trailing wave may bring additional flurries overnight, with a total of 1-4” of snow expected by Saturday morning at mid-mountain.

A transient ridge of high pressure will briefly move overhead on Saturday behind the departing storm and ahead of the next storm which is currently in the Gulf of Alaska. Temperatures should rise into the low fifties under mostly sunny skies for a very pleasant spring day.

Our next storm should be crossing the Pacific Northwest on Saturday and is forecast to travel through the Great Basin on Sunday. Temperatures should warm toward or even above average on Sunday despite the increasing clouds ahead of the storm, though it is unclear at this time if the cold air begins filtering into our area in the afternoon or evening. Additionally, there may be rain showers associated with the cooling temperatures, though steady precipitation looks to hold off until Sunday night and Monday morning.

This storm looks similar to but stronger than the storm to start the weekend, and again we could be seeing snowflakes in town and more snow at the higher elevations which will add to our rapidly declining snowpack. And it looks like we will see another storm by midweek that will continue the unsettled weather.

Check back Sunday afternoon where I’ll have more details on the storm to close out the weekend and the next storm for midweek in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative.

Spring weather returns after a wintry weekend

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Cold temperatures in the upper thirties and snow showers mingled with peeks of sun are over the town of Steamboat Springs this Sunday mid-afternoon. Temperatures will warm about ten degrees on a still-cool Monday followed by springtime high temperatures in the sixties for the middle three days of the work week. This pleasant weather may be followed by another storm around the end of the work week.

Snow totals were impressive from the late-April wintry storm, with 5” of snow in town by early Saturday morning and two day totals of 11” at mid-mountain of the Steamboat Ski Resort, at least 12” up top (the Powdercam was obscured during the middle part of Saturday due to drifting snow covering the camera) and 20” near the summit of Buffalo Pass. Several more inches fell at and above 9000′ through this morning and early afternoon, significantly adding to our now-declining snowpack.

Monday will see temperatures warm about ten degrees from today with a chance of an inconsequential afternoon shower behind the departing wintry storm, which is forecast to bring below freezing temperatures to the upper Midwest and eventually the Northeast this week.

Springtime returns in force for the middle three days of the work week with high temperatures in the sixties, around ten degrees above our average of 57 F, and mostly sunny skies filtered by some high clouds at times. However, there may be the chance of some more inconsequential afternoon showers on Wednesday and Thursday as Pacific moisture moves inland ahead of a storm forecast to cross the West Coast on Thursday. But that storm is currently near the Aleutian Islands and weather forecast models disagree on how much moisture makes it overhead.

Enjoy the coming springtime weather this work week, and check back on Thursday afternoon to see if we see our third straight weekend storm.

Summery weather turns wintry for the weekend

Thursday, April 21, 2022

The thermometer has cracked the vaunted seventy degree mark in the Steamboat Springs area this Thursday mid-afternoon under sunny skies with breezy winds from the southwest. Enjoy the summery weather now as a strong wintry storm will affect our area from Friday afternoon through the weekend, which is great news for our below-average snowpack.

A strong storm currently pounding the Sierras with wind and snow is forecast to move through the Great Basin on Friday and turn northeast before bringing blizzard conditions to the northern High Plains on Saturday. Winds will stay breezy from the southwest ahead of the storm through some of Friday afternoon at which point a strong cold front will bring rapidly falling temperatures and precipitation to our area. High temperatures will likely make it to five to ten degrees above our average of 55 F by early afternoon before rain showers at lower elevations and snow showers at higher elevations start by late afternoon or evening.

Snow showers could be moderate to heavy at times thanks to the unstable atmosphere, and snowfall rates over an inch per hour are possible, making travel difficult at times over Rabbit Ears Pass. And at some point overnight, any liquid precipitation in town should turn over to snow.

Winds and snow look to decrease during some of the overnight as the center of the storm passes just to our north, but are forecast to substantially increase again as the storm intensifies to our northeast. Winds over our area will then turn to be from our favorable northwest direction on the backside of the storm, and will combine with a moist and unstable air mass to bring good snowfall to all elevations during the day Saturday and most of the night, with continued difficult driving conditions over Rabbit Ears Pass.

After seeing high temperatures in the seventies today, Saturday will be quite the shock with snow on the ground and temperatures likely mired in the thirties! And like the last storm, snow accumulations will increase with elevation, with 6-12” of snowfall at mid-mountain possible between Friday evening and Sunday morning and 10-20” up top, with even town receiving another round of accumulating spring snow.

Snowfall looks to decrease but likely not stop Sunday morning, especially at the higher elevations, before trailing energy increases the intensity of the snow showers again by Sunday afternoon. Several more inches may accumulate at mid-mountain through the day and evening, with high temperatures in town barely breaching forty degrees.

The storm should be mostly over for our area by Sunday night, even as the work week starts cool thanks to the unseasonably cold air mass left behind by the departing storm. Enjoy the summery weather through early Friday afternoon, and stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon where I’ll have some storm totals and discuss what is looking like a very nice work week.

Springtime returns for some of the work week

Sunday, April 17, 2022

A mix of rain and snow is over the town of Steamboat Springs this Sunday morning as temperatures hover near freezing. Unsettled and cool weather will linger through today before sunny skies and springtime temperatures return to start the work week. A grazing cold front will bring increasing precipitation chances from Tuesday night into Wednesday morning before skies clear later on a cooler day. A beautiful Thursday looks to be followed by another significant wintry storm as we head into the weekend.

A quick-moving and mild disturbance passed overhead last night, starting precipitation in town as rain before some snow fell this Easter morning with accumulations limited to grassy areas. But colder temperatures at the higher elevations has allowed 3” of accumulation on the Mid-mountain Powdercam and 5” on the Sunshine Peak Powdercam by 9 am this morning. Moist and unstable flow from our favorable northwest direction will keep the cool and unsettled weather going today, with rain showers at the lower elevations and a couple more inches of snow possible at the higher elevations through the afternoon.

But springtime weather returns in force on Monday and Tuesday, with sunny skies and high temperatures reaching the sixties, which is between five and ten degrees above our average of 54 F. A quick-moving storm from the west will increase precipitation chances Tuesday night, with up to several inches possible at mid-mountain by Wednesday morning and snowflakes possible in town, with any accumulations confined to grassy areas. And even though the day starts cool, we should be able to reach near average high temperatures as we see some strong April sun.

Thursday will be a warm and beautiful springtime day before another round of wintry weather starts around the end of the work week. The remnant of former typhoon Malakas is currently well east of Japan, and is forecast to mix with a storm currently evolving in the Bering Sea before crossing the West Coast late in the work week. There is a fair bit of weather forecast model uncertainty regarding the speed and strength of the resultant wintry storm, and how its pieces will eventually move across our area.

It appears we will see at least two days of wintry weather with significant precipitation likely, though it is unclear if it arrives on Friday or Saturday, with the American model currently more eager than the European model. Stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon where I’ll have more details on our next chance to add to our snowpack.

Unsettled weather persists through the weekend

Friday, April 15, 2022

A mixture of sun and clouds with breezy winds and temperatures in the upper forties are over the Steamboat Springs area this Friday mid-afternoon. Behind a disorganized weather disturbance that has stayed mostly to our north today, there may be some sun on Saturday with temperatures in the fifties. However, clouds will thicken and lower later in the day ahead of small storm that starts Saturday night and lingers through Sunday. After the past week of inclement weather, nice springtime weather is advertised to start the work week.

Persistent areas of low pressure over the Pacific Northwest and the upper Midwest have kept the jet stream overhead this week, leading to the windy conditions. Additionally, energy ejecting out of the Pacific Northwest has lead to our week of inclement weather, with impressive late-season snow totals reported at the Steamboat Ski Resort. Despite the pleas from the snow gods and the public to extend the ski season, the 16.5” at mid-mountain and 29” up top between Monday afternoon and Thursday morning has sat mostly undisturbed since Closing Day last Sunday.

An inconsequential storm has stayed mostly to our north today, precluding much, if any, precipitation. But another storm currently moving through the Gulf of Alaska will help dislodge the area of low pressure over the Pacific Northwest and then move over our area from Saturday night through Sunday. Winds will turn to be from the west to our favorable direction from the northwest, and I would expect 2-5” at mid-mountain between Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, with more likely at higher elevations.

The work week looks to start nice as a ridge of high pressure builds over the West ahead of what looks like a grazing storm for midweek that is currently part of a storm in the Bering Sea. But far more interesting will be the progression of Typhoon Malakas which is currently near Japan and is the first named storm and first typhoon of the year in the West Pacific. Unbelievably, there is reasonable weather forecast model agreement that the decaying typhoon will interact with what is left of the Bering Sea storm as it crosses the Pacific during the work week and bring another round of wintry weather to parts of the West sometime around next weekend.

So stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon where I should have better ideas about the impacts of that grazing midweek storm and the possibility of wintry weather around next weekend.

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1 July 2021

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