Showers likely over the weekend

Thursday, June 16, 2022

Bluebird skies and temperatures near eighty degrees are over the Steamboat Springs area early this Thursday afternoon. While Friday will start similar to today, with perhaps some smoke from several wildfires in Arizona and New Mexico, we should see increasing clouds by Friday afternoon as a surge of moisture from the south moves over Colorado. Precipitation will be hard to come by to start thanks to the dry atmosphere, but becomes likely by Saturday and possibly Sunday as the atmosphere moistens.

A storm currently off the Pacific Northwest coast is forecast to elongate along the West Coast during the weekend before moving inland across the Great Basin and grazing our area on Monday. Additionally, a ridge of high pressure extending from the Southeast to the Canadian Plains is forecast to strengthen through the weekend, and the southerly flow ahead of the West Coast storm combined with the clockwise rotation around the high pressure center will force subtropical moisture currently residing over the Mexican deserts northward and eventually over our area by Friday afternoon.

Unfortunately, this southerly flow will also draw smoke from the large Black Fire in southern New Mexico and the Fish Fire across the state line in Arizona, and possibly the Midnight Fire in northern New Mexico, northward and over our area for at least tonight and tomorrow. With this in mind, I have made two changes to the SnowAlarm site by placing the PurpleAir air quality indicator from the Routt County Courthouse back on the home page and grabbing the NOAA smoke plume forecast maps which are run out to 48 hours four times a day.

While Friday will start similar to today, other than the possibility of some haze due to smoke, clouds should increase in the afternoon as moisture moves northward. Storms that form will initially produce more wind than rain as it will take some time for the lower atmosphere to moisten, so the better chance for wetting rains waits until Saturday afternoon and evening, and possibly Sunday.

And along with the clouds, high temperatures will drop from around ten degrees above our average of 74 F today and tomorrow to around average, or even several degrees below for the weekend.

While weather forecast models agree that the West Coast storm will graze our area, there is disagreement on how close it will get, and that will influence the chance of precipitation on both Sunday and Monday. The European ECMWF keeps the storm further away, which allows for more showers on Sunday and a dry Monday, while the American GFS has the storm moving close enough to sever the moisture plume for a drier Sunday before increasing shower chances on Monday as the storm moves by.

So stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon where I’ll discuss that grazing storm for Sunday or Monday and what currently looks like nice weather for the remainder of the work week.

Big cooldown on Tuesday

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Abnormally hot temperatures in the mid-eighties, mostly sunny skies and breezy winds from the southwest are over the Steamboat Springs area this Sunday afternoon. Though temperatures will decrease a bit on Monday, the winds will increase ahead of a strong but mostly dry cold front that will bring much cooler temperatures into our area for Tuesday and Wednesday. Warmer temperatures return for the end of the work week along with increasing rain chances as we head into the weekend.

The weather over the West is being squeezed between a strong storm in the Gulf of Alaska and a building ridge of high pressure over the Southeast. While the Pacific Northwest is currently seeing cold and rainy weather, we will be grazed by a couple of waves rotating around the southern end of the storm on Monday and Tuesday nights. The first wave will bring a strong cold front through our area very early Tuesday morning, though moisture will be sparse as most of the storm is deflected to our north by the building ridge of high pressure over the Southeast.

For the rest of today, look for high temperatures similar to the high temperature of 87 F yesterday at the Bob Adams airport, which is fifteen degrees above our average of 72 F. Though high temperatures will decrease on Monday by about ten degrees as the cold front approaches, winds will increase with gusts around 40 mph likely.

There may be some very early morning showers Tuesday when the front moves through, but precipitation will be hard to come by as the cold and relatively dry air moves into our area. High temperatures on Tuesday look to be in the low sixties, which represents a twenty-five degree cooldown from today.

A reinforcing cold front is timed for Tuesday night with no precipitation expected. However, the low temperatures for Wednesday morning will be flirting with the freezing mark, so those gardeners who have not followed the plant-after-Father’s-Day rule of thumb for the Yampa Valley may consider covering their newly planted gardens or bringing easily moved plants indoors.

Another Pacific storm currently near the Aleutian Islands is forecast to replace the departed Gulf of Alaska storm by midweek before elongating along the West Coast through next weekend. The southerly flow ahead of the storm will encourage the ridge of high pressure over the Southeast to move westward, allowing above-average temperatures to return starting Thursday.

By the end of the work week, weather forecast models agree that moisture from the south will be funneled northward thanks to the southerly flow ahead of the West Coast storm and the clockwise rotation of air around the westward moving Southeast ridge of high pressure. This has the hallmarks of a North American Monsoon moisture surge, though it is too early to say whether this pattern is a hint of what’s to come later in the summer.

So enjoy the cooldown for a couple of very pleasant days on Tuesday and Wednesday, and check back for my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon where I’ll discuss the possibility of wetter weather returning for the weekend.

Summertime temperatures for the dry weekend

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Some sun and clouds with temperatures in the upper-seventies are over the Steamboat Springs area this Thursday mid-afternoon. If we don’t reach eighty degrees later today when the clouds clear, we will tomorrow, with even warmer temperatures in the low eighties for the weekend.

We have a relatively simple weather forecast for a change as a ridge of high pressure forecast to be centered over the Four Corners this weekend builds ahead of a storm developing in the Gulf of Alaska. The clouds this morning were the result of a cool front that stayed to our north, so expect clearing skies for the rest of the day and temperatures threatening the eighty degree mark.

Friday and the weekend will be several degrees warmer than today, which would be over ten degrees above our average of 71 F, with plenty of sunshine. Other than a pleasant summertime weekend, there is not much weather to speak of until a quick moving storm currently near the Dateline mixes with some of that Gulf of Alaska storm on Saturday and crosses the West Coast on Sunday.

It looks like we will have more dry air and windy conditions from the southwest by Monday ahead of the storm crossing the Great Basin. Weather forecast models agree on a strong cold front moving through our area around Monday night, though disagree on how much cold air and moisture makes it into north-central Colorado and how long the cool air sticks around after Tuesday. Enjoy the summertime weekend, and check back on Sunday afternoon for my next regularly scheduled weather narrative where I’ll discuss the coming early work week cold front.

Shower chances decrease and temperatures increase through the work week

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Temperatures are near seventy degrees under mostly sunny skies along with some breezes this Sunday noon. Several weather disturbances will graze our area from this afternoon through tomorrow evening which will increase shower chances, including tonight, though we will likely see more wind than rain from the thunderstorms. Skies dry by Tuesday and temperatures warm into the upper seventies through most of the work week, possibly reaching around eighty degrees on Thursday.

A storm currently in the Gulf of Alaska is forecast to eject several pieces of energy and moisture eastward, and though the seasonal progression of the jet stream moving north is well underway, the ejecting waves will be close enough to increase thunderstorm chances starting later today and tomorrow. Expect a breezy couple of days due to the proximity of the jet stream and rain-cooled outflow boundaries associated with thunderstorms.

The strongest of these waves moves through tonight, and there is a possibility of nocturnal, or overnight thunderstorms in addition to the usual afternoon and evening variety. Another wave during the day tomorrow will keep the threat of thunderstorms going through Monday as well.

A ridge of high pressure is then forecast to move through the West through the work week ahead of another storm that develops in the Gulf of Alaska. We should see a decrease in precipitation chances and increase in temperatures through most of the work week, with the high temperatures near seventy degrees through Tuesday, which is right at our daily average high temperature, increasing into the upper seventies on Wednesday before we make a run at our first eighty degree day on Thursday.

It appears the summery weather is here to stay as I don’t see any cold storms lurking in the longer-range weather forecast models. We may have another grazing wave for next weekend, though that currently looks benign, but I’ll know more about that in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon.

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.

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28 September 2022

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