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Unsettled work week ahead

Sunday, March 5, 2023

After some sun and wind and temperatures in the mid-thirties in Steamboat Springs late this Sunday morning, snows have restarted with several inches of accumulation at the Steamboat Ski Resort by late this Sunday afternoon. Another several inches are likely to fall by midnight before they taper off by Monday morning with some clearing skies advertised for parts of the day. Our area will be right on the southern edge of light snows on Tuesday and Wednesday before good chances for snow reappear starting Wednesday night and lingering through Thursday.

A sharp ridge of high pressure currently over the eastern Pacific extends through Alaska toward the North Pole while an area of low pressure is anchored off the Pacific Northwest coast near the base of the ridge. Northerly winds on the east side of the high pressure are directing waves of cold air and energy around the somewhat stationary storm, resulting in a stationary front that extends from the base of the storm eastward across northern California, Nevada, Utah and northern Colorado. This front separates the colder air to our north from the warmer air to our south.

The snows from today were the result of some energy ejecting out of the storm yesterday and moving over our area this afternoon, accompanied by the strong winds of the jet stream overhead. The bulk of the 3-6” that should be reported at mid-mountain Monday morning that has not already fallen today will fall by midnight.

Weather forecast models are not in complete agreement as to the strength and location of the ejecting waves through most of Wednesday, and we may have some light snow showers at times as the front meanders south and perhaps even some sun as the front meanders north. Any accumulations are likely to be very light, with 1-4” the best hope on the Tuesday and Wednesday morning mid-mountain ski reports, though there also may be zeros reported.

Weather forecast models agree that a stronger wave of energy moves overhead by Wednesday night even as cold air from the northern latitudes replenishes the storm through the work week and beyond. Unfortunately, they disagree about the details, with the American GFS faster, stronger and wetter. That model is currently predicting as much as 6-12” between Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon, though the European ECMWF, which I’m currently inclined to support since it has forecast this weather setup more accurately so far, has less than half of that.

A break in the unsettled weather is forecast by both models for at least some of Friday, and agree about some sort of storm for the weekend, though they disagree on how that storm may evolve. So be sure to check back Thursday afternoon where I’ll have more details about the possible weekend storm and what may be a break in the unsettled weather pattern for the beginning of the following work week.

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26 June 2021

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