Sunday, April 30, 2023
A glorious spring day is over the town of Steamboat Springs this Sunday early afternoon with sunny skies and temperatures already at sixty degrees. Monday will be even warmer but with a chance of some afternoon clouds and a stray shower. Shower chances increase further on Tuesday, decrease a bit for Wednesday and then increase substantially on Thursday as a storm from the west approaches and temperatures cool.
Our current gorgeous weather is courtesy of a a ridge of high pressure centered over the Intermountain West and sandwiched between troughs of low pressure off the West Coast and over the Great Lakes. The area of low pressure to our west is forecast to elongate southward along the coast and form an eddy that spins off the California coast through midweek.
The southerly flow ahead of the eddy will raise temperatures almost ten degrees above our average of sixty degrees on Monday, May Day, for the warmest day of the week. Some Pacific moisture accompanies the southerly winds on Tuesday, decreasing high temperatures by several degrees and increasing shower chances during the afternoon and evening which is a sure sign that spring has arrived.
Shower chances tick downward on Wednesday before increasing substantially on Thursday as a wave of energy and moisture eject out of the eddy thanks to another Pacific storm just now crossing the Dateline. High temperatures will drop from the mid-sixties on Tuesday and Wednesday toward our average by Thursday, with the rain showers likely up to 10,000′ possibly leading to flooding concerns on the Yampa Valley floor.
But cooler air accompanies the wave by Thursday night, with snow levels dropping to around mid-mountain as the atmosphere dries with little or no snow accumulations. High temperatures on Friday will drop into the mid-fifties with continued afternoon and evening showers chances behind the departing wave.
Meanwhile at least part of the storm currently near the Dateline is forecast to move through the Gulf of Alaska and dislodge the West Coast eddy late in the work week. Right now, that eddy is forecast to move across the Great Basin on Friday and near or over our area on Saturday for more shower chances and another day in the mid-fifties.
The forecasts currently have a nice Sunday as what remains of the eddy clears the area, but be sure to check back for my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon where ‘ll have a better idea of the coming weekend weather.
Thursday, April 27, 2023
After a mostly sunny Thursday morning in Steamboat Springs, winds have picked up and the skies have clouded over on a fifty degree afternoon ahead of a cold front expected later today. After some minor precipitation tonight and cooler temperatures for Friday, pleasant spring weather is on tap for the weekend and looks to hang around to start the following work week.
Before getting to the weather forecast, those record coldest high temperatures I discussed in the weather narratives last Sunday and last Thursday were finally made official when the high temperature last Thursday of only 31 F bested the previous record of 34 F in 1927 and the high temperature last Saturday of only 29 F bested the previous record of 35 in 1909. And we missed the low temperature record of 8 F recorded in 1982 by only two degrees, highlighting a cold week in a cold winter.
A brief blast of wintry weather from the current weather pattern is on our northern doorstep as a cold front currently in southern Wyoming barrels toward our area later today. We may see some showers ahead of the front before sharply colder temperatures and several hours of spotty precipitation accompany the front later this afternoon or early this evening. While mid-mountain at the Steamboat Ski Resort may see up to an inch or two of accumulation, town will see snowflakes with trace accumulations on the rapidly appearing grassy surfaces.
Friday will be a cool day with high temperatures only in the forties, around ten degrees below our average of 56 F. But mostly sunny skies under a strong late April sun will certainly take the chill off.
Very nice spring weather arrives in force starting Saturday as a ridge of high pressure moves across the West ahead of a couple of merging storm systems currently near the Gulf of Alaska. A stubborn area of low pressure over the central part of the country will keep the ridge from moving to the east, so even as temperatures warm to average on Saturday and about five degrees above average on Sunday, waves of moisture rotating around the ridge of high pressure from the northwest will bring periods of clouds, with even some showers possible starting Sunday afternoon.
Those afternoon shower chances remain on an even warmer Monday, and if that sounds like spring, wait until Tuesday when that Gulf of Alaska storm system is forecast to approach the West Coast. Winds are forecast to shift to be from the southwest ahead of the storm and carry subtropical moisture over our area for increasing rain shower chances, perhaps to as high as 10,000′.
So enjoy what will almost certainly be a very pleasant spring weekend with near normal temperatures for a change, and I’ll be back Sunday afternoon with a look at how that West Coast storm evolves and what it means for our weather the following work week.
Sunday, April 23, 2023
Temperatures are in the upper-thirties under rare mostly sunny skies in the town of Steamboat Springs this Sunday noon. Be sure to soak up the sun today as more unsettled weather returns later Monday and lasts into Wednesday, though this round won’t be as cold as the weather we experienced last week. But after a break on Thursday, cold and snowy weather looks to return for Friday.
The Steamboat Ski Resort’s mid-mountain powdercam showed an additional 5” from another cold storm between Friday and Saturday morning, matching what I measured on my deck. The cold was noteworthy, and the low temperature record on Thursday morning of 8 F recorded in 1927 and the coldest high temperature of 30 F recorded in 1920 are in jeopardy, though we will have to wait for the not-yet-posted official measurements from the climate monitoring station near the high school.
There is still a large area of cold low pressure spinning in the Gulf of Alaska, and a transient ridge of high pressure ahead of a couple of ejecting waves has brought the sunny weather over the area today. Though it will feel much warmer than most of the preceding work week, high temperatures in town are only expected to be in the upper forties, still around ten degrees below our average of 57 F.
Clouds will come and go tonight and tomorrow before the first relatively warm and weak wave brings chances for rain or a rain-snow mix in town later Monday and Monday night, with several inches of accumulating snow possible at mid-mountain.
The stronger second wave is forecast to move southeastward across the Great Basin on Monday and form an eddy near the Four Corners area on Tuesday, bringing a strong cold front through our area during the day. We should have all snow in town by later Tuesday with up to several inches of accumulation possible by Wednesday. Of course, higher elevations will do better, with another 5-10” possible before the storm departs the area.
Incidentally, the Front Range and its adjacent foothills are favored for heavy precipitation when an eddy is near the Four Corners region, thanks to the counterclockwise circulation around the eddy forcing moist winds from the east up the Rocky Mountain barrier. This so-called upslope will make a trip to Denver Tuesday afternoon quite difficult as not only Rabbit Ears Pass but the I-70 and I-25 corridors will be affected by periods of moderate to heavy precipitation through Wednesday morning.
As the eddy clears Colorado, we will see a break in the weather from later Wednesday into Thursday before parts of a storm currently near Kamchatka eventually bring another round of unseasonably cold air and snow to our area around Friday.
And though obviously subject to change, current forecasts have a ridge of high pressure and nice spring weather moving over the West behind the Kamchatka storm sometime around the following weekend or soon thereafter. I’ll know more about that as well as discuss the likely Friday snowstorm in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon.
Thursday, April 20, 2023
After a mostly sunny morning with a chilly start, skies are clouding over in the town of Steamboat Springs this Thursday noon with temperatures in town only near thirty degrees. The wintry weather which started Tuesday night will be overhead through the first half of the weekend, with snow showers today giving way to another round of significant snows on Friday and Friday night. Snow showers will taper off on Saturday with temperatures grudgingly warming on Sunday ahead of another storm system for early in the following work week.
After the 5” of snow that fell on Wednesday as observed on the Steamboat mid-mountain powdercam, Steamboat Springs woke up today to temperatures around 9 F under mostly clear skies, with the record low of the day of 8 F in 1927 in jeopardy and dependent upon the not-yet-posted official measurement from the climate monitoring station near the high school.
The wintry weather is not going away anytime soon as a large area of low pressure in the Gulf of Alaska continues to shed storms that move over our area in favorable cool and moist northwest flow. High temperatures in town are forecast to be mired in the thirties today and tomorrow, and near forty degrees on Saturday, which are well below our average of 56 F.
And while we will see snow showers this afternoon as any surface heating further destabilizes the atmosphere with another inch possible on the hill, that changes tomorrow as a quick moving storm creates moderate to sometimes heavy snow showers Friday afternoon and overnight. Snowfall rates as high as an inch per hour will make driving difficult over Rabbit Ears Pass, and by Saturday morning there could be several inches of new snow in town and 5-10” at mid-mountain of the Steamboat Ski Resort, for those willing to hike.
Snow showers will end in town on Saturday and taper off during the day at higher elevations as the storm departs. Temperatures are forecast to warm into the mid to upper-forties on Sunday with some morning sun, with afternoon and evening showers a possibility with minimal or no accumulations as surface heating again destabilizes the atmosphere.
Temperatures warm another few degrees on Monday even as another storm from the northwest approaches later in the day. Early indications are this storm will be comprised of a couple of waves, with the strongest moving overhead on Tuesday with another round of significant snows possible.
So be sure to check back for my next regularly scheduled weather narrative Sunday afternoon to see how much snow we received from the Friday storm and what we may expect form the next early week weather-maker.
Sunday, April 16, 2023
Temperatures are near thirty degrees in the town of Steamboat Springs and upper teens near the top of the Steamboat Ski Resort under bluebird skies this Sunday mid-morning. After the last two days of wintry weather, pleasant spring weather returns today for Closing Day and lasts until midweek when cool and unsettled weather returns.
While we spent the first part of the month in record territory for equivalent liquid water in the snowpack of the Yampa-White-Little Snake drainage basin as measured since 1986, the warm weather last week and above freezing temperatures at night at even the highest elevations caused 2.5” of liquid water to runoff, dropping us 3” below the record for this date, but still 141% of the median.
Currently, a transient ridge of high pressure is moving through the West ahead of a large storm churning in the Gulf of Alaska and behind our just-departed wintry storm. That storm boosted the reported-this-morning season totals to 448” at mid-mountain and 563” up top, despite the several inches of snow that fell yesterday morning and subsequently melted during the sunny afternoon.
The ridge of high pressure is forecast to be briefly centered over our region on Monday, making that the warmest day of the work week and raising our high temperatures from the low-fifties today to the upper-fifties under continued mostly sunny skies, several degrees above our average of 54 F.
Tuesday will be another warm day, however clouds will increase in the afternoon along with strong winds from the southwest ahead of the inland-moving Gulf of Alaska storm. The forecast evolution of the storm is still in flux as pieces of energy eject out ahead of the storm even as more cold air from Alaska pours into the backside of the storm.
Right now, it looks like a cold front will move through our area Tuesday night, bringing a period of unsettled weather lasting through the work week, along with much colder high temperatures around fifteen degrees below average, give or take five degrees. It will be cold enough for at least a rain-snow mix in town in the afternoon and snow overnight, though only several inches are expected through the work week. Of course, all snow is forecast for the hill, with initial amounts looking in the 3-6” range, though that could easily halve or double depending on how much storm energy and moisture eventually moves through our area.
A ridge of high pressure may briefly move overhead for part of the weekend for nicer weather, though there is weather forecast model disagreement both among themselves and each other as to exactly when that may happen. So enjoy the spring weather to start the work week and I’ll be back Thursday afternoon with my next regularly scheduled weather narrative with a look at the weekend weather.