Wintry weather arrives for Sunday

Thursday, October 20, 2022

A stunning fall day is over the Steamboat Springs area this Thursday mid-afternoon with cloudless skies and temperatures in the upper sixties. An approaching wintry storm will drop temperatures several degrees and increase breezes on Friday, with another several degree drop on Saturday along with windy conditions. The weather changes in earnest Saturday night as the high temperature for Sunday will occur at midnight and precipitation begins as rain in the lower elevations and snow around mid-mountain. Continued falling temperatures and increasing precipitation rates are forecast through the day Sunday, with several inches of snow in town likely by Monday morning.

Our wintry storm is currently moving through the Gulf of Alaska and is forecast to cross the Pacific Northwest coast later Friday. After a gorgeous fall day today with temperatures approaching seventy degrees, look for increases breezes from the northwest and west on Friday with temperatures dropping several degrees.

While Saturday morning may start sunny, clouds will increase in the afternoon, knocking another several degrees off the temperatures and winds will substantially increase first from the west and then the southwest as the approaching storm dives into the Great Basin.

Precipitation should begin overnight Saturday, with rain in town and snow above mid-mountain, though snow levels are forecast to drop from 9500′ Saturday night to 4800′ by Monday morning as the strongest part of the storm passes overhead. We may see a rain-snow mix in town for much of the day Sunday, with the heaviest precipitation rates forecast through the day and all snow likely later in the day. High temperatures may not make it out of the low forties in town on Sunday and twenties at mountain-top, with accumulating snow at pass level and snowfall rates exceeding an inch per hour at times making travel difficult over Rabbit Ears Pass.

After Sunday, most will not be surprised to see several inches of snow in town by Monday morning, with considerably more at the higher elevations, possibly exceeding a foot at the top of Mt. Werner. Be sure to check the newly updated Steamboat powdercam up top and the Thunderhead powdercam at mid-mountain through the day Sunday as our first winter-like storm barrels through the area.

While the strongest part of the storm is associated with a leading wave ejecting out of the low pressure area on Sunday, the bulk of the storm is forecast to move through Colorado on Monday as weather forecast models show it splitting. So look for precipitation to end Monday morning, but with even colder temperatures by several degrees than on Sunday. And while Monday morning will be cold with low temperatures likely in the teens, we may approach the single digits by Tuesday morning.

The screaming message is to get outside and finish your outdoor projects by Saturday ahead of the wintry weather. Be sure to check back on Sunday afternoon where I’ll be discussing the ongoing storm and what looks like more snow later in the work week in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative.

More gorgeous fall weather ahead

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Another brilliant fall day is over the Steamboat Springs area late this Sunday morning with bluebird skies and temperatures in the mid-fifties, on their way to the mid-sixties. More sunny and warm days with seasonably cool nights are on tap for the rest of the work week, with Wednesday and Thursday forecast to be the warmest days with high temperatures approaching seventy degrees. Take advantage of the beautiful weather and great fall color hanging on below 9000′ this week as a wintry change may be in our future around next weekend.

The atmosphere is still favoring the current dominant pattern of a ridge of high pressure over the West sandwiched between two deep areas of low pressure located over the eastern Pacific and eastern North America. Additionally, an eddy cut off from the jet stream is currently traversing the Desert Southwest, though that will be too far south to affect on our weather.

So look for more gorgeous fall weather through the work week as the ridge of high pressure moves only slightly eastward, with high temperatures five to ten degrees above our average of 58 F and low temperatures within several degrees of our average of 26 F. Wednesday and Thursday are forecast to be the warmest days of the the week and high temperatures may even flirt with the seventy degree mark!

Enjoy the remaining fall color while spending as much time outside this week and finishing up outdoor projects as it appears an abrupt change in our weather comes as soon as next weekend. A storm from Siberia is currently approaching the Kamchatka Peninsula and is forecast to continue to mix with cold air from the North Pole through the work week as it crosses through the Aleutian Islands. Concurrently, the southern part of the eastern Pacific low pressure area is forecast to form another eddy that loiters well off the coast of California before eventually interacting with the incoming Siberian storm.

There is weather forecast model uncertainty with that interaction and the timing and strength of the eventual storm that may change our weather towards winter around next weekend. So be sure to check back to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon as there will be a lot to talk about.

Seasonable fall weather ahead

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Partly sunny skies and moderately breezy winds with temperatures right at sixty degrees are over the Steamboat Springs area this Thursday mid-afternoon. The weather forecast for this weekend does not change much save for a weak cool front on Saturday that may bring some increased breezes and clouds, but do little to affect our temperatures.

The persistent ridge of high pressure over the West is still being anchored between areas of low pressure over eastern North America and the eastern Pacific. Additionally, an eddy cut off from the jet stream is spinning just off the coast of southern California.

Our breezy weather is due to the proximity of the jet stream which represents the boundary between warm and cold air; in our case the warm air over the West and the cold air over eastern North America. Since we have different air masses on either side of our area, neither will dominate so expect seasonable temperatures within five degrees of our average high of 60 F and average low of 27 F through the weekend.

A small Pacific disturbance currently traveling over the top of the ridge is forecast to mix with some cold air associated with vortex of low pressure currently centered just north of the Great Lakes and bring a cool front through our area on Saturday. Initially it looked like a grazing cool front, but in an odd atmospheric dance, the energy associated with the southern end of that cool front now looks to move westward and encourage the California eddy to move across the Desert Southwest through the weekend and early next week.

So while we will see increased clouds on Saturday that may last into Sunday morning, not much change is forecast for the temperatures or breezes. There is a chance that clouds could hang around through noon on Sunday depending upon the interaction between the eddy and cool front, though any precipitation is currently forecast to be confined to our east and more so south.

The ridge of high pressure is forecast to move eastward through the following work week for more mostly sunny skies and temperatures a bit above average. The fate of the ridge of high pressure by the end of the work week is uncertain at this time, with the nice fall weather continuing if the ridge stays intact and a possibly stormy pattern change if the ridge breaks down. I hope to know more about that in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon.

Winds pick up ahead of mostly dry cold front Tuesday night

Sunday, October 9, 2022

Another spectacular fall day is over the Steamboat Springs area this Sunday afternoon with sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-sixties. Similar weather is expected for Columbus Day, but with afternoon breezes from the west, before a mostly dry cold front is forecast Tuesday night. Look for winds to increase during the day with a small chance of rain showers at the lower elevations and snow showers at the higher elevations in the afternoon and evening before the atmosphere quickly dries after midnight behind the cold front. More sunny weather with seasonable temperatures is forecast for the rest of the work week.

As has been the case recently, two deep and cold areas of low pressure over the eastern Pacific and Hudson Bay sandwich a ridge of high pressure over the West Coast. A wave of energy currently moving through the Aleutian Islands is forecast to cross the British Columbia coast Monday afternoon before moving through Idaho on Tuesday and bringing a cold front through our area Tuesday evening.

While tomorrow will be similar to today, but with some breezes from the west, the winds will pick up on Tuesday with gusts over 30 mph by the afternoon as we see meager chances for rain shower below 10,000′ and snow showers above in the afternoon and evening. The snow level will drop during the evening and reach as low as 8000′ by Wednesday morning, though the atmosphere quickly dries behind the front so no precipitation is expected after midnight. There may be snowflakes in the evening as low as mid-mountain, which you can monitor at the Steamboat mid-mountain powdercam, though accumulations at all elevations currently look unlikely.

The ridge of high pressure over the West Coast quickly rebuilds behind the departing storm, so look for lots of sun and seasonable temperatures within five degrees of our average high of 61 F and average low of 28 F through the rest of the work week.

The weather forecast models agree that dry weather will persist into next weekend, though we may be susceptible to a grazing cool front as waves of energy travel down the east side of the ridge of high pressure. So enjoy the mostly sunny days and cool nights, except for the brief interruption in our stellar weather on Tuesday, and I’ll be back with my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon.

Brilliant fall days ahead

Thursday, October 6, 2022

A spectacular fall day with sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-sixties is over the Steamboat Springs area this Thursday afternoon. More warm sunny days and crisp clear nights are forecast through the long Columbus Day weekend which will provide excellent viewing of the late-arriving but still vibrant fall colors around north central Colorado.

A ridge of high pressure over the West Coast is currently sandwiched between two large areas of low pressure extending southward from the Gulf of Alaska and Hudson Bay. Additionally, an eddy has cut off from our past weekend storm and taken up residence over Baja with no effect on our weather.

The dry air associated with the ridge of high pressure is bringing lots of sunshine which is allowing high temperatures to reach into the mid and upper sixties today, about five degrees above our average of 63 F. The clear skies will also allow for cool morning low temperatures right around our average of 28 F.

A wave traveling down the east side of the ridge looks to bring a cool front to the Front Range on Friday, though current forecasts have most of the cold air staying east of the Divide, so similar weather is forecast for our area tomorrow, with temperatures cooling by several degrees.

A dry wave ejected from the Gulf of Alaska storm is forecast to move through the ridge of high pressure and drop south along the West Coast on Sunday. The wave is forecast to eject that Baja eddy northeastward across New Mexico early in the work week while taking its place, though both of those features will be too far away to affect our weather through early next week.

So continued warm days and cool nights are forecast through Sunday and Columbus Day before there may be a pattern change for our area around midweek, thanks to some Pacific energy traveling through the Aleutian Islands and the northern Gulf of Alaska. However, there is a lot of uncertainty on how much of that energy and cool air we eventually see, with hopes for a significant storm for our area fading the last several cycles of the weather forecast models. So enjoy a spectacular weekend of quintessential Colorado fall weather and color, and I’ll have be back with my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon.

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21 June 2019

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