Nice weekend for the Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival

Thursday, February 9, 2023

A cold day that started snowy but gave way to peeks of sun is over the Steamboat Springs area late this Thursday afternoon. The fresh snow from last night will conspire with clearing skies tonight to produce very cold subzero morning temperatures for Friday, with those cold morning low temperatures slowly moderating through the weekend. But the cold mornings will be followed by plenty of sunshine for some beautiful winter days surrounding the 110th Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival which runs from yesterday through Sunday.

A storm containing some cold Siberian air brought 7” to mid-mountain and 9” to the top of the Steamboat Ski Resort this Thursday morning, with another 2” falling at mid-mountain during the morning. Behind the departing storm and ahead of an elongated area of low pressure extending from the Pacific Northwest Coast through the Gulf of Alaska and into Alaska, a ridge of high pressure is forecast to move through the Intermountain West through Sunday.

The ridge will bring dry weather with plenty of sunshine, with some passing clouds from time to time especially later Saturday and overnight. Clearing skies tonight should conspire with the fresh snow cover to produce low temperatures in the minus teens in town, well below our average of 5 F.

But the sun on Friday will warm temperatures into the twenties, which will still be below our average of 30 F. But we may reach into the thirties on Saturday ahead of possible afternoon cloudiness, with the low temperature of the day starting out around zero.

If clouds are overhead Saturday night, they will help insulate the surface of the earth like a blanket, so low temperatures will warm to above average for Sunday morning.

Meanwhile that area of low pressure in the Gulf of Alaska is forecast to split as it crosses the West Coast Friday night, with the southern part of the split forming an eddy that moves south across California over the weekend and then east across Arizona on Monday. The northern part of the split is forecast to move across Montana on Saturday and may bring a dry grazing cool front for our area on Sunday that will knock the high temperatures down a few degrees.

And while the southern eddy may eventually affect southern Colorado on Tuesday, we look to stay north of any weather until the next cold storm takes aim on our area for midweek.

This next storm is forecast to develop over the northwest Pacific as cold air from Siberia mixes with warm and moist subtropical air from the south before crossing the Dateline on Saturday. Another chunk of cold air from Alaska is then forecast to mix with the storm on Sunday before it moves across the Gulf of Alaska on Monday.

Right now, this significant and cold winter storm looks to affect our area around midweek, so enjoy the nice weekend and be sure to check back to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon where I’ll have more details on our next storm and some snowfall guesses.

A couple of storms this work week

Sunday, February 5, 2023

Temperatures have warmed into the mid-twenties in the town of Steamboat Springs and near thirty degrees at the top of the Steamboat Ski Resort under partly sunny skies this Sunday noon. Breezy winds from the southwest will pick up today ahead of a storm lasting from tonight into Monday night. We’ll see a short break on Tuesday and Tuesday night ahead of the next storm lasting from Wednesday into Thursday morning. Nice weather is then forecast as we head into the Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival weekend.

Winds have picked up from the southwest at the higher elevations ahead of a storm that traveled through the Gulf of Alaska on Saturday and crossed the West Coast last night. The storm is forecast to split as it crosses the Great Basin today, with our snowfall dependent upon how much energy and moisture ends up in the northern part of the split. Current forecasts have the cold front moving through our area around midnight, with 3-6” of snow expected for the Monday morning report. Snowfall will continue at lighter rates through the day as cold, moist and unstable flow from our favorable northwest direction follows behind the storm, with another 2-5” expected by Monday night by the time the snowfall tapers off.

Temperatures will take a dive from today, with highs around ten degrees up top and near twenty degrees in town on both Monday and Tuesday, though we may see some sun on Tuesday as a weakening ridge of high pressure quickly moves through the area.

The second storm is currently just south of the Aleutian Islands and is forecast to mix with some cold air originally from Siberia as it moves through the Gulf of Alaska on Monday and crosses the Pacific Northwest Coast on Tuesday. Weather forecast models have trended stronger with the storm, though there is uncertainty with the timing, with the best snowfall starting between Wednesday afternoon and evening along with increasing windy conditions as the day progresses. We could see 4-8” by the Thursday morning report with another inch or two possible in the morning if enough moisture lingers in our favorable cool and unstable northwest flow.

Meanwhile, another Pacific storm is forecast to mix with more cold air originally from Siberia and approach the West Coast next weekend. Weather forecast models tentatively agree that some sort of eddy will form, and a ridge of high pressure ahead of that eddy over the Intermountain West means warming temperatures and lots of sun to end our work week and start the weekend.

That eddy but more likely another upstream storm may affect our weather during the following work week, so stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon for a better idea of when the next stormy pattern emerges.

Next chance for snow just after the weekend

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Bluebird skies and temperatures approaching ten degrees in the town of Steamboat Springs and fifteen degrees at the top of the Steamboat Ski Resort are over the Yampa Valley late this Thursday morning. After seeing accumulating snow at mid-mountain for all but seven days in January, snowfall will take a break through the weekend with a mix of sun and clouds ahead of the next chance for snow on Monday.

January was quite the snowy month both in town and on the mountain, and the Steamboat Ski Resort recorded the second consecutive month (108”, 127”) of one hundred inches or more of accumulated snow for only the fifth time since 1980! The image below shows those consecutive months circled in red just below the total accumulated seasonal snowfall (as of January 2023).

Steamboat Resort snowfall statistics 1980 - 2023

Total and monthly seasonal snowfall at mid-mountain at the Steamboat Ski Resort from 1980 - Jan 2023

Maximum 1 Day_Mean Snow Depth in since 1908Additionally, the town saw some impressive snowfall, though it appears that about two weeks of snowfall data have yet to be published by the official measuring site by the high school in Steamboat Springs. However, the measured snowfall depth of 56” on January 30 2023 ties the sixth most recorded on the ground since 1908 as shown in the accompanying chart!

And of course, it is no coincidence that the winter of 1996 - 1997, which holds the top 3 spots for base depth in town, also had 2 consecutive months of over one hundred inches of snowfall at the Steamboat Ski Resort.

But now we have clear skies, and there is not much weather to speak of through the weekend. A ridge of high pressure has build over the Intermountain West bringing clear skies and cold morning temperatures to our area. Pockets of moisture moving through the ridge may bring some clouds tonight into Friday morning, and again later Friday into Saturday as a weakening and dry wave moves through the ridge and travels through our area.

Our next chance of snow comes later Sunday and Monday as a shearing wave moves through our area between Sunday and Monday nights. Snowfall amounts from the storm currently look to be modest, with preliminary estimates in the 5-10” range. But I’ll have more details about that in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon.

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1 April 2018

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