Weekend precipitation chances plummet

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Sunny skies with temperatures in the low eighties, on their way to the upper eighties, are over the Steamboat Springs area early this Thursday afternoon. What was looking like a wet weekend only a couple of days ago has trended significantly drier, with the best storm chances now limited to Friday afternoon and evening.

A ridge of high pressure is currently sitting over most of the continental U.S while one area of low pressure is located just east of Vancouver and another exists as an eddy off the West Coast. While the bulk of the Vancouver storm will move east across the Canadian Plains over the next two days, some of that storm elongates southwestward toward the eddy off the West Coast, eventually forming an additional small storm that is forecast to move across Montana and drag a cool front through our area early Sunday.

While these pieces are evolving to our northwest, a wave moving through the monsoonal moisture plume located on the backside of the large ridge of high pressure is forecast to move northward through Nevada on Friday and Idaho on Saturday as it merges with the eventual Montana storm.

Earlier in the week, the storm around Vancouver was forecast to stay north of our area, allowing that disturbance in the monsoonal flow to move overhead through the weekend, but the elongation of the Vancouver storm to the southwest has changed that trajectory. So while we will still see good chances for afternoon and evening storms on Friday, a much drier Saturday and Sunday is now in our future as the monsoonal moisture plume is forecast to split to our northwest and southeast. There may still be a passing shower around, especially early Sunday as a cool front grazes our area, but the threat of widespread rainfall is all but gone.

While the elongation of that Vancouver storm to the southwest destroyed our precipitation chances for Saturday and likely Sunday, the cooler air associated with the further southern extent of the storm will grace our area for the weekend, with high temperatures eventually cooling into the low eighties by Sunday, which is a couple of degrees below our now declining average of 83 F.

Dry weather and increasing temperatures are expected for the bulk of the following work week, with another monsoonal surge of moisture currently predicted for next weekend. Be sure to stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon where I’ll discuss how hot the coming work week will be as well as any changes to the weather forecast for next weekend.

Best chances for precipitation on Tuesday and next weekend

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Temperatures in the low eighties and mostly sunny skies are over the Steamboat Springs area early this Sunday afternoon. Average summertime weather for the Colorado High Country can be expected this week with thunderstorm chances best on Tuesday before decreasing for a couple of days starting midweek and then increasing again heading into next weekend.

A ridge of high pressure is currently sandwiched between vortexes of cold air over the Bering Sea and Hudson Bay and extends from the Gulf Coast through the Pacific Northwest. A couple of waves of energy and cool air moving eastward from the Bering Sea are forecast to move across the Canadian border through the upcoming week, grazing our area on Tuesday and again around mid-weekend.

Generally, monsoonal moisture is located in the southerly flow on the backside of the ridge of high pressure as winds follow a clockwise rotation around the high pressure center., helped along by any storms off the West Coast that reinforce the southerly flow. Storms forming in the persistent area of low pressure in the Bering Sea this summer have been traveling eastward along the Canadian border and deforming or displacing the ridge of high pressure over the U.S and concurrently shifting the monsoonal moisture plume eastward or westward.

The first wave of energy now moving eastward from the Bering Sea is forecast to cross north of the Vancouver coast on Monday and cross Montana on Tuesday. A pocket of dry air ahead of the storm will graze our area on Monday for a similar day to today, with high temperatures right around our 84 F average and a small chance of an afternoon or evening thunderstorm.

The weather gets more interesting on Tuesday as the Vancouver storm passes to our north and combines with a separate lobe of energy rotating around the ridge of high pressure. There should be more clouds around and a grazing cool front later in the day leading to several degrees of cooling and increasing storm chances in the afternoon and evening.

Storm chances significantly decrease for Wednesday and Thursday, with the cooler temperatures experienced on Tuesday hanging around on Wednesday as winds briefly turn to be from the west or northwest behind the front. But temperatures will rebound to above average on Thursday as the next storm from the Bering Sea is forecast to cross the Vancouver coast on Thursday and turn our winds to be from the southwest. This also opens the door to another surge of monsoonal moisture to start the weekend.

This storm is forecast to drag another cool front through our area around mid-weekend, with some drier air moving near our area, likely after the weekend. But that forecast can change, so stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon where I’ll discuss the next surge of monsoonal moisture and the likelihood of increasing precipitation chances for the upcoming weekend.

Best storm chances of the weekend today and tonight

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Temperatures in Steamboat Springs are in the upper seventies under partly cloudy skies this Thursday mid-afternoon. Though our best storm chances occur later today and tonight, chances will decrease but remain on Friday before they decrease further for the rest of the weekend as some drier air likely overspreads the area.

A ridge of high pressure currently sitting over the West is sandwiched between two vortexes of cold air over the Bering Sea and Hudson Bay. The cold air moving across the Bering Sea is forecast to generate a series of storms that will move across the Gulf of Alaska and deform the western ridge of high pressure while nudging it eastward.

Our best chance for wetting rains occurs through about midnight as a wave of energy passes to our north and mixes with cold air around the Hudson Bay vortex. Combined with monsoonal moisture already carried northward underneath the ridge of high pressure, there will be good thunderstorm chances for the rest of the day and lasting until midnight. Locally moderate to heavy rain, small hail, frequent lightning and gusty winds may be associated with any relatively slow-moving storm cells.

Though there has been weather forecast model disagreement on how much dry air makes it into our area after today, storm chances look to decrease but still remain later Friday after a sunny morning. More of the same can be expected through the weekend, but with more sun expected as storm chances decrease further, high temperatures are forecast to rise toward our average of 84 F by Sunday.

There is weather forecast model agreement that Monday will be the warmest and driest day of the period with high temperatures approaching five degrees above average. More disagreement then emerges on how wet the next week will be as it will depend on how a storm moving across the Gulf of Alaska evolves and whether it stays off the coast for a wetter week, similar to the European ECMWF or moves across the Canadian border for a drier week, similar to the American GFS. Be sure to stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon where I will discuss the evolution of the storm and the weather for the next work week.

Pleasant start to the work week after showers today

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Cloudy skies with temperatures in the mid-sixties are over the Steamboat Springs area early this Sunday afternoon. Even after receiving about four hundredths of an inch of rain from a passing shower this morning at the SnowAlarm weather station near the base of the Steamboat Ski Resort, additional rain is likely from thunderstorms this afternoon. Drier air overspreads the area this evening for mostly sunny days and pleasant temperatures through midweek before another monsoonal surge of moisture is forecast to start Thursday.

A persistent area of low pressure that has sat over the Gulf of Alaska most of this summer is finally moving eastward as it is replaced by a building ridge of high pressure over the eastern Pacific. The eddy left behind from last week’s Vancouver storm is currently moving through Idaho, and energy associated with this feature will conspire with the monsoonal moisture and energy moving northward for likely storms this afternoon.

As the old Gulf of Alaska low pressure area moves eastward across Canada, it will drag the Idaho eddy eastward as well, and the winds will switch to be from the northwest by this evening on the backside of the eddy, bringing much drier air overhead by tonight. Additionally, cold air from a persistent area of low pressure over Hudson Bay will mix with the old Gulf of Alaska storm, allowing cool air to spill southward across the Great Lakes. This keep the dry northwest flow overhead through midweek, with mostly sunny skies and pleasant afternoon temperatures in the mid-eighties, right around our average high of 84 F.

The weather pattern changes by Thursday as the temporarily squashed ridge of high pressure to our east rebounds into the Pacific Northwest. And once again, southerly winds under the ridge of high pressure are forecast to bring another surge of monsoonal moisture overhead for a good chance of showers on Thursday and Friday.

More energy emanating from the Bering Sea is forecast to move through the ridge of high pressure that was temporarily located over the Gulf of Alaska late in the work week, and by the weekend is forecast to move through the northern Rockies. The energy may be strong enough to switch our winds to be from the west or northwest and sever the monsoonal moisture plume, or not, but check back Thursday afternoon for my next regularly scheduled weather narrative where those details should be clearer.

Hot start to the weekend with some showers possible

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Temperatures are in the mid-eighties under mostly sunny skies this Thursday mid-afternoon in Steamboat Springs. Temperatures will stay hot through Saturday when an approaching cool front will increase the chances for afternoon and evening showers on Saturday and Sunday and cool temperatures by several degrees starting Sunday.

A ridge of high pressure is currently sitting over the West and leading to warm afternoon temperatures reaching into the upper eighties, around five degrees above our average of 84 F. Energy ejecting out of a storm currently in the Bering Sea will help dislodge the Pacific Northwest eddy left behind from last week’s Vancouver storm eastward across the northern Rockies through this weekend.

While Friday will be similar to today, perhaps with an isolated shower, we will see effects from that eastward moving eddy starting on Saturday as shower chances increase in the afternoon and evening as a cool front grazes our area. While the front may not arrive early enough in the day to moderate the hot temperatures much, areas under any clouds will see some relief from the heat.

The storm moving across the northern Rockies is forecast to nudge the ridge of high pressure eastward, and moisture over our area will increase from the grazing storm as well as monsoonal moisture carried northward on the back side of the ridge of high pressure. So expect high temperatures to cool several degrees toward our average of 84 F on Sunday with another chance of afternoon and evening storms.

Drier air behind the front looks to overspread our part of Colorado to start the work week, and additional energy moving through that Bering Sea storm is forecast to keep the ridge of high pressure from rebuilding, so expect a very pleasant dry summer day on Monday with high temperatures around average. There may be another grazing cool front later Tuesday, or not, but I’ll have more clarity on that possibility in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon.

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25 September 2021

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