Nice start to the weekend followed by increasing shower chances
Thursday, June 8, 2023
Mostly sunny skies with temperatures in the mid-sixties are over the Steamboat Springs area early this Thursday afternoon. The weekend should start out on the drier side with temperatures warming a bit before shower chances increase to finish the weekend and start the next work week.
A fairly complicated weather pattern is over the U.S., especially for early June, as several areas of low pressure are forecast to interact with a ridge of high pressure currently over the northern Rockies that is anchored between two expansive low pressure areas centered near the Aleutian Islands and the Northeast.
There are two areas of low pressure that will affect us starting the second half of the weekend, with the first slowly moving northward through Nevada and the second moving southward through the Canadian Plains. At first, drier air from the southwest ahead of the Nevada low will keep things on the dry side for Friday with temperatures approaching our average of 74 F.
A similar day is forecast for Saturday, with a slight chance of afternoon and evening storms as that storm from the Canadian Plains moves south along the eastern side of the ridge of high pressure and grazes our area later in the day.
More active weather with a better chance of afternoon and evening storms is forecast for Sunday as energy ejects out of the Aleutian low pressure area and approaches the West Coast, keeping the Nevada low moving north while part of it shears out east toward our area.
Meanwhile, that ejecting piece of energy approaches Baja and forms an eddy that moves inland. It currently looks like that eddy will first move into the Desert Southwest late in the weekend and then across the Great Basin early in the work week. That means more good chances for showers to start the work week.
My travel plans are still in flux, and it is likely my regularly scheduled weather narrative will be published sometime on Monday. Until then, enjoy the drier start to the weekend.
Shower chances persist this work week
Sunday, June 4, 2023
Mostly cloudy skies and cool temperatures in the mid-sixties are over the town of Steamboat Springs on this Sunday mid-afternoon. The chance of afternoon and evening showers looks to persist through Thursday, with the best chance on Wednesday, as temperatures warm toward seventy degrees ahead of another storm system approaching our area. There may be several degrees of cooling on Thursday, but likely drying for the end of the work week.
A ridge of high pressure anchored over the central U.S. and extending toward the Arctic Circle is flanked by low pressure areas over the Great Basin and the Gulf of Maine. The ridge of high pressure is holding firm thanks to the building heat of summer and is slowly deflecting any storm systems moving eastward from the Pacific to our north. The end result is a relatively stagnant pattern that has been drawing moisture from the Gulf of Mexico over our area in the counterclockwise flow around the low pressure area.
Another incoming low pressure area is forecast to cross Baja tomorrow, and force the current low pressure area in the Great Basin northward as it slowly moves into Arizona through midweek. The southeast winds ahead of the new low pressure area will continue to move moisture from the Gulf of Mexico over our area for a continued chance of afternoon and evening thunderstorms. But because the center of the low pressure will be to out west, we should see some partly sunny starts to the day and high temperatures closer to our average of 72 F.
By Thursday, the low pressure area is forecast to move northward into Nevada thanks to a storm currently near the Aleutian Islands that will elongate to the south as it moves east into the Gulf of Alaska. Drier air wrapping around the now-in-Nevada low pressure area from the southwest will move toward our area, but weather forecast models disagree on how much of that drier air moves overhead by Thursday, and possibly heading into the weekend.
But with morning sun comes a better chance of stronger afternoon and evening storms as rising temperatures cook the atmosphere. The storms will likely become more scattered, but that won’t make a difference if you happen to be under a passing storm cell later in the day.
I’ll be back a bit earlier on Thursday morning, as I have more travel in my future, with a look at what is currently looking like a drier weekend forecast.
Soggy start to the weekend
Thursday, June 1, 2023
Showers are moving over the Steamboat Springs area late this Thursday afternoon with temperatures only in the mid-fifties. Not much change is forecast for Friday, with slightly warmer but still cool temperatures and continued unsettled weather on tap for the rest of the weekend, and likely beyond.
A broad trough of low pressure is currently over the West with high pressure over the Great Lakes. No less than four circulation centers are currently embedded within the trough, and their eastward progress will be blocked by the building ridge of high pressure over the Great Lakes. They will instead be forced generally northward along the spine of the Rockies and back west toward the Great Basin and interact with each other in a complex and difficult to forecast dance.
In addition to the forcing from these circulation centers, moisture from the Gulf of Mexico has been drawn over our area by southerly flow behind the ridge of high pressure yielding a favorable environment for showers that may persist through the weekend. In fact, the ridge of high pressure is forecast to build toward the Arctic Circle through the weekend, creating a stagnant pattern that means unsettled weather continuing into the next work week.
Tomorrow will likely be the coldest day of the week with high temperatures only in the fifties, fifteen degrees or so below our average of 71 F. We may wake up to rain showers along with snowflakes near the top of the Steamboat Ski Resort. But there will be some recovery on Saturday with high temperatures in the lower sixties and upper sixties by Sunday.
While Friday will almost certainly be wet, there is less certainty for Saturday and Sunday as some drier air behind the passing disturbances may move near or over our area. That will be dependent upon how far west the ridge of high pressure bulges through the weekend, with a further westward movement keeping the drier, but not dry, air to our west. Showers will take a downturn if that drier air moves overhead.
It will take until early next week for these disturbances to clear the area, but another one is currently forecast to be behind it for continued unsettled weather lasting through midweek at least. I’ll have more details about this approaching system in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon.
Unsettled weather returns starting midweek
Sunday, May 28, 2023
After a sunny Sunday morning with temperatures reaching the upper sixties early this afternoon, temperatures have dropped into the low sixties as clouds, cooler air and gusty winds due to evaporating precipitation from surrounding showers moved through. Temperatures are forecast to warm into the low seventies on Memorial Day and approach the mid-seventies on Tuesday as shower chances decrease. But an approaching storm by midweek decreases temperatures and increases shower chances, with the unsettled weather likely to hang around through the weekend.
The eddy I discussed last Thursday is currently just off the northern California coast, and is forecast to move southward toward Baja before turning east by later Tuesday and approaching the Four Corners region around midweek.
Until the eddy is in our vicinity, dry air from the Desert Southwest will continue to be carried over our area in winds from the southwest, with decreasing chances for storms on Memorial Day, and likely Tuesday as well. Temperatures will also rise from the low seventies on Monday toward the mid seventies on Tuesday, slightly above our average of 70 F. Like the last few days, there will be some chances for afternoon and evening thunderstorms which will likely produce more wind than rain thanks to precipitation evaporating in the dry lower levels of the atmosphere before it reaches the ground.
Weather forecast models agree that the eddy and its associated moisture eventually reach our area, though disagree whether it happens on Wednesday, like the American models suggest, or on Thursday like forecast by the European ECMWF. Showers will become more numerous with wetting rains likely, especially to close out the work week.
The unsettled weather is likely to persist into next weekend as a wave of subtropical moisture currently approaching the Dateline follows behind the departing eddy. Have a great Memorial Day, and I’ll be back with my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon to discuss the weekend weather.
Pleasant Memorial Day weekend with modest shower chances
Thursday, May 25, 2023
Partly sunny skies with comfortable temperatures in the low seventies are over the Steamboat Springs area early this Thursday afternoon. The pleasant weather with high temperatures in the low seventies is forecast to continue through the long Memorial Day weekend with modest chances for afternoon and evening storms that should not disrupt outdoor plans too much.
A trough of low pressure is currently located over the West Coast states while a ridge of high pressure is centered over Minnesota. The Nevada eddy I talked about in the Sunday weather narrative looks to barely form within the southern portion of the low pressure area before more incoming Pacific energy moves the trough of low pressure to the northeast on Saturday and Sunday.
Generally dry air from the Desert Southwest is and will continue to be carried over our area in breezy winds from the southwest, with perhaps a degree or two of cooling as what is left of the eddy grazes our area Saturday afternoon. While the lower levels of the atmosphere will be dry, there is enough moisture aloft for afternoon and evening storm chances from today through Memorial Day, though they may produce more wind than rain as much of the precipitation will likely evaporate before reaching the ground.
Meanwhile, that incoming Pacific energy is forecast to cut off from the jet stream and itself form an eddy, moving slowly southward from the Oregon coast on Saturday to the southern California coast by the Tuesday after Memorial Day.
Longer term weather forecast models have moisture over our area increasing by midweek as the southern California eddy eventually moves across Arizona and into the Great Basin, though exactly how that happens is not yet clear.
I plan to be traveling on Sunday, so my regular weather narrative on Sunday afternoon may be pushed back to Memorial Day. Those readers who have not yet signed up to have these forecast discussions emailed for free can do so here. Otherwise, enjoy what looks to be a very nice Memorial Day weekend and I will be back on Sunday or Monday.