Closing Weekend weather starts nice and turns unsettled

Thursday, April 7, 2022

The winds have finally subsided on this sunny Thursday noon with temperatures in the mid-thirties in the town of Steamboat Springs and upper teens near the top of the Steamboat Ski Resort. Sunny skies and warming temperatures will continue into Closing Weekend before a cold front Saturday night brings increasing clouds and winds by Saturday afternoon, snow showers on Saturday night and a cool and unsettled Closing Day on Sunday.

A ridge of high pressure is currently sitting over the West Coast, with two areas of deep and cold low pressure areas extending from the Bering Sea through the Gulf of Alaska and from the Great Lakes through the eastern half of the country. The ridge of high pressure will move over our area by Saturday morning, allowing for plenty of sun and warming temperatures from a bit below our average of 50 F today to the mid-fifties on Friday.

While Saturday will likely start sunny, the leading part of that Gulf of Alaska storm is forecast to cross the Pacific Northwest coast early on Friday and move across the Great Basin through the day, landing on our doorstep by Saturday afternoon. So even though temperatures will continue to rise toward the sixty degree mark in town on Saturday, clouds will be increasing through the day as westerly winds increase.

The cold front associated with this leading storm is forecast to pass through around Saturday evening, with the snow showers at all elevations heaviest overnight and tapering off on a cool Sunday where high temperatures will be relegated back to the forties. Snowfall amounts are will be dependent upon the amount of moisture associated with the storm, with some models predicting 3-6” by the Sunday morning report and others producing nothing. My guess is there will be enough for yet another (low end) Closing Day powder day, as often seems to happen.

What else also often seems to happen right after the ski area closes is a major storm, and the coming work week will reinforce that odd coincidence. Additional cold air from around the Bering Sea and western Alaska will continue to be incorporated into the bulk of the Gulf of Alaska storm, which is forecast to move over our area in pieces through most of the rest of the work week. This will be a cold and wet system, with total snowfall possibly containing around an inch of liquid water, so we are not done yet adding to our snowpack, which peaks on average tomorrow.

I would say normally to stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon, but with that being Closing Day and the possibility that I will have to personally inspect any new snow Sunday morning, my regular schedule may be interrupted. So if not Sunday, then I’ll have more on our next likely major wintry storm on Monday.

Windy and wintry weather returns on Tuesday

Sunday, April 3, 2022

Temperatures are in the mid-forties in the town of Steamboat Springs and mid to upper twenties near the top of Mt Werner under mostly cloudy skies this Sunday afternoon. We should see some sun tomorrow along with warmer temperatures ahead of a wintry storm that will bring windy and snowy weather back to our area starting on Tuesday. While the bulk of the snow will likely fall on Tuesday, the storm will linger into Thursday morning before warming temperatures and clearing skies start the Closing Weekend of the Steamboat Ski Resort.

A storm currently in the Gulf of Alaska is mixing with some cold air from western Canada, and is forecast to strengthen into a large wintry storm that will travel across the country this week and bring freezing temperatures to the entire East by the weekend. Behind a wave of moisture that brought 1.5” of snow to the top of Mt. Werner just after report time this Sunday morning, we should see some filtered sunshine for the rest of this afternoon and more sun on Monday under increasing breezes from the west where high temperatures should be around five degrees above our rapidly increasing average of 49 F.

That all changes after midnight on Monday as the Gulf of Alaska storm moves across the Pacific northwest and strengthens as it moves across the northern tier states through midweek. A strong cold front will be on our doorstep by Tuesday morning, with increasing moisture in windy flow from the northwest starting snows by around sunrise.

One thing that has shown up in at the end of the shorter-range forecasts is the possibility of some freezing precipitation Tuesday morning as the cold front moves through the area. This may or may not occur, but any icing, along with strong winds, is sure to complicate lift operations.

Snowfall amounts are uncertain, but currently we could see an inch or two by the Tuesday morning report, with another 3-6” during a windy day that may have gusts above 50 mph and lead to difficult travel at times over Rabbit Ears Pass.

Snowfall rates will decrease overnight and into Wednesday morning, where there could be 4-8” reported at mid-mountain for the Wednesday morning report. High temperatures will plummet from five degrees above average on Monday to fifteen degrees below average on Tuesday and Wednesday, with temperatures in town struggling to reach much above freezing on both days.

Winds will decrease some on Wednesday, and snows may end for a time, but it will still be relatively windy as a trailing wave restarts snow showers later Wednesday and overnight, especially at the higher elevations, with several more inches possible for the Thursday morning report.

And even though we’ll likely see some sun on Thursday, high temperatures will still be below average and in the low-forties as cold air continues to be carried over our area by northerly winds on the backside of the still-intensifying storm that should then be over the Great Lakes.

Beautiful and warm springtime weather should be returning to our area by Friday and for the start of Closing Weekend festivities, including the annual Cardboard Classic, even as freezing temperatures kiss the Gulf Coast and the Florida border.

There is another storm, or series of storms in our future around Closing Day or soon after, which seems to happen more often than not, so stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon to see if Closing Day will be more like a winter day or spring day.

Quick storm for tonight followed by nice start to the weekend

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Temperatures are around forty degrees in the town of Steamboat Springs and mid-twenties near the top of Mt. Werner on this mostly sunny Thursday noon. Clouds will be increasing today ahead of a quick-moving storm for tonight that will be mostly done by Friday morning. The weather turns nice for Saturday ahead of an unsettled period that could start as soon as Saturday night and is forecast to extend into midweek.

A quick-moving storm currently over the Intermountain West will move through tonight, with clouds increasing later today and showers starting around mid-evening. Any rain showers in the lower elevations should turn to snow as the cold front barrels through before midnight, attended by moderate to heavy snow showers that could produce snowfall rates above an inch per hour at times. While the bulk of the snow should be over by sunrise, we could see 3-6” of snowfall accumulate at mid-mountain by the Friday morning report, with possibly a bit more during the day in the rapidly drying but still favorable northwest flow behind the storm.

A ridge of high pressure ahead of a developing storm in the Gulf of Alaska will bring warmer and sunnier weather back to our area on Saturday, with temperatures in town reaching around five degrees or so above our average of 47 F.

A couple of waves of energy will eject out of the Gulf of Alaska storm on Saturday night and Monday, with the bulk of the storm passing through on Tuesday and Wednesday. The first relatively warm wave is forecast to graze our area, and may produce some snow showers at and above mid-mountain on Saturday night and Sunday, though there is uncertainty on the strength and duration of the showers and whether we will see accumulations.

We might see a quick break later Sunday into the first part of Monday before the second wave, a bit cooler than the first, moves overhead by Monday afternoon and increases the chance of showers again, with precipitation of the liquid form in town.

Showers will likely not end before being closely followed by the bulk of the cold Gulf of Alaska storm, and there are indications we could see significant snow from Monday night through Wednesday. So stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon where I’ll discuss the next round of wintry weather for next week.

The Spring Break ends Tuesday

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Temperatures in the Steamboat Springs area range from the low forties near the top of the Steamboat Ski Resort and high forties in town under mostly sunny skies this Sunday noon. We may see temperatures in town breaching the sixty degree mark today as our spring weather break continues, and almost that on Monday before temperatures plummet as a complex storm brings wintry weather back to our area for the rest of the work week.

A large storm that passed through the Gulf of Alaska last night has split, with the majority of the storm diving south and forming an eddy just now off the coast of California. The storm is forecast to move across California on Monday and begin affecting our area by Monday night with rain showers at the lower elevations and snow showers at the higher elevations. It looks like we will sneak in another springtime day on Monday ahead of the storm, but after seeing high temperatures fifteen to twenty degrees above our average of 46 F, high temperature five to ten degrees below average starting on Tuesday and lasting through the work week will be a shock.

We may see an inch or two of accumulations at mid-mountain by the Tuesday morning ski report, but snows should pick up during the day and overnight as some of the northern part of the storm re-integrates with the southern portion of the storm and brings cool, moist and unstable flow from our favorable northwest direction. And while all snow is expected at mid-mountain, town may see liquid precipitation during the day Tuesday before snowflakes appear overnight. We could see another 3-6” at mid-mountain by the Wednesday morning report.

Wednesday should be another cool and showery day with peeks of sun, with an additional 1-4” of snowfall at mid-mountain that would be reported on Thursday morning. We may see some partial clearing on Thursday before the next storm that is forecast to cross the Vancouver coast on Wednesday brings another round of snowfall from Thursday afternoon through the night and into some of Friday.

Enjoy the last couple of warm and springlike days ahead of the return of wintry weather on Tuesday, and I’ll be back with my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon to discuss how much snow we may see out of the Thursday night storm and the possibility of an additional storm sometime during the following weekend or soon after.

Spring Fever over Steamboat Springs through the weekend

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Temperatures are in the mid-thirties in the town of Steamboat Springs this Thursday noon under sunny skies, on their way to the mid-forties. Continued mostly sunny skies and steadily increasing temperatures are forecast through the weekend, likely reaching and perhaps exceeding the vaunted sixty degree mark by Sunday. Enjoy the beautiful weather as unsettled conditions are forecast to return to our area around Tuesday.

Thanks to a ridge of high pressure ahead of a storm currently developing in the Gulf of Alaska, the weather will be easy to forecast through the weekend, for a change. Lots of sun and steadily warming temperatures are in our immediate future, rising five to ten degrees on Saturday and that again on Sunday from our average high temperature of 45 F that we will see today. That means a six will likely be in front of our high temperatures on Sunday!

The Gulf of Alaska storm is forecast to approach the West Coast this weekend and undergo some sort of split, though weather forecast models are struggling with the evolution of the storm as it crosses the West Coast late in the weekend. It looks like we will sneak in another springlike day on Monday, though we may see some increasing clouds and breezy winds from the southwest ahead of the approaching storm.

Unsettled weather is advertised starting around Tuesday and should last for a couple of days, and perhaps be followed by a trailing storm later in the week. Get out and enjoy the gorgeous spring weather this weekend, and I’ll be back discussing our next storm system in my regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon.

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30 April 2022

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