Cool and unsettled weather to end February and start March

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Temperatures are in the mid-thirties in downtown Steamboat Springs and 21 F near the top of the Steamboat Ski Resort this Sunday mid-afternoon under mostly cloudy skies. A storm developing in the Gulf of Alaska will bring chances for snow through midweek, along with breezy to windy conditions, especially on Tuesday.

And while the temperature near the top of the Steamboat ski reached 27 F at 9:30 this morning, increasing clouds dropped the temperature a few degrees before noon and a weak cool front associated with a storm well to our south further dropped the temperature to the current 21 F. Unfortunately these cooler temperatures are all we are going to see out of the storm to our south as dry air behind the storm will preclude snowfall chances for this afternoon.

But the next storm in the Gulf of Alaska promises more snowfall chances as waves of energy eject out ahead of the storm through midweek before the remaining part of the storm makes landfall along the California coast early Wednesday and moves to the south of the Four Corners by Thursday.

Winds will shift from the current northwest direction to be from the west and the southwest as these waves of energy approach and move overhead through midweek and high temperatures in town fall back to the low twenties, ten to fifteen degrees below our average of 36 F. While moisture initially looked sufficient for at least moderate snowfall for most of the early week period, it now appears that the moisture will be more episodic and tied the passage of each wave.

So now, I’m only expecting 1-4” for the Monday morning mid-mountain report, with another 1-4” during the day as the first weak wave ejecting from the Gulf of Alaska storm moves through. The next wave from Monday night through Tuesday afternoon looks more promising, but is also expected to bring wind, with average wind speed at mountain-top increasing to 30 mph by early afternoon and gusts around twice that.

So after a 1-4” Tuesday morning report, with most of that falling on Monday, we could see another 2-5” during the windy day before snowfall ends during the afternoon. By Wednesday morning, the storm is forecast to be in northern Nevada and close to Las Vegas by the afternoon, reaching the Four Corners by Thursday morning. During this time, the last ejecting wave for us will move overhead during the day Wednesday and bring another 1-4” of snowfall and linger overnight where another inch or two may fall.

It does appear like we will see a break in the unsettled weather later Thursday and overnight before a promising but quick-moving wave in our favorable northwest flow moves across during the day Friday. Next weekend looks dry as a ridge of high pressure briefly builds ahead of another developing storm in the Gulf of Alaska that may affect us the following work week. I’ll be talking about that in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon.

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2 May 2019

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