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Wintry weather to start Closing Weekend arrives tonight

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Temperatures are near fifty degrees in the town of Steamboat Springs and forty degrees near the top of the Steamboat Ski Resort under mostly sunny skies this Thursday mid-morning. Our spectacular week of spring weather will end today as a wintry storm on our doorstep brings a couple of cold fronts through the area starting this evening, along with snow at all elevations. High temperatures in town to start the weekend will fall into the thirties before temperatures moderate on Sunday as skies clear behind the departing storm.

The first cold front associated with a storm currently in the Great Basin is passing through Salt Lake City, and will reach our area this evening. The mostly sunny morning today should give way to increasing clouds later this afternoon with breezy winds from the southwest before precipitation breaks out this evening. Rain or a rain-snow mix will start at elevations below mid-mountain before turning to all snow by midnight as temperatures plummet behind the front.

We should see several inches of accumulation on the Friday morning mid-mountain ski report, with that again during the day as high temperatures reach only the mid-twenties near the top of the hill and upper-thirties in town, around twenty five degrees below our average high of 54 F in town.

A colder reinforcing wave of moisture and energy is forecast for Friday night, keeping the snows going and dropping temperatures into the teens near the top of the hill by Saturday morning. The colder temperatures will decrease snow density as the temperatures fall Friday night, with another several inches of fluffier snow producing 3-6” by the Saturday morning report. Snow showers will taper off during the day Saturday in the favorable cold, moist and unstable flow from the northwest with another several inches possible.

With the current mid-mountain snowfall accumulation of 442”, reaching the 450” milestone for the season is certainly a possibility by Saturday afternoon.

If skies clear as expected by Sunday morning, the day will start off chilly but quickly warm as a ridge of high pressure moves overhead behind the departing storm, with high temperatures in town recovering to the low fifties for a pleasant Closing Day.

The following week will start with temperatures warming further toward sixty degrees before a storm may or may not graze our area around midweek. I’ll know more about that possibility in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon.

Spring fever arrives in Steamboat Springs

Sunday, April 9, 2023

Temperatures are near freezing at all elevations in the Steamboat Springs area as clouds depart on this Easter Sunday morning. A stretch of beautiful spring weather will continue into midweek before clouds and winds increase ahead of a storm for the end of the work week that looks to bring snow back to our area.

A large area of low pressure currently over the eastern Pacific extends from Alaska southward halfway to Hawaii. Warm air carried northward ahead of the storm will force a ridge of high pressure to build over the West through midweek, bringing mostly sunny skies and warm temperatures.

While high temperatures will approach our average of 52 F today, they should approach 60 F on Monday and mid to upper-sixties on Tuesday and Wednesday with lots of sunshine for a beautiful stretch of spring days.

Meanwhile a storm currently near Kamchatka is forecast to move across the northern Pacific and dislodge the area of low pressure over the eastern Pacific by midweek. The low pressure area will evolve in a complex manner as it enters the Great Basin on Thursday as waves of energy move through, making for an uncertain end-of-week forecast.

Right now, we may see a batch of clouds and increasing winds from the southwest later Wednesday as the storm approaches. Thursday will be the last day of this stretch of spring weather with high temperatures dropping into the upper fifties as clouds briefly dissipate ahead of a strong cold front that should move through later Thursday or early Friday.

A rain-snow mix in town during the day Friday should turn to all snow by Friday night as that Kamchatka storm finally moves through the area of low pressure which will be overhead, with high temperatures in town falling to the low forties, between ten and fifteen degrees below our rising average of 54 F.

Enjoy this gorgeous stretch of hard-to-come-by spring weather and I’ll be back with my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon with more details on our next wintry storm. At this point, with 442”of snowfall at mid-mountain so far this season, there is a chance we can reach the 450” milestone by Closing Day.

Warming temperatures for the weekend with unsettled weather on Saturday

Thursday, April 6, 2023

Temperatures are near twenty degrees in the town of Steamboat Springs and mid-teens near the top of the Steamboat Ski Resort on this mostly sunny Thursday mid-morning. Temperatures will warm today as the early-April sun modifies the arctic air mass that was over our area on Tuesday and Wednesday. More warming on another mostly sunny Friday will be followed by clouds on Saturday along with a chance of afternoon and evening showers. These clouds should dissipate by Sunday afternoon before long-awaited springtime weather appears for most of the work week with mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the sixties.

The storm this past week did bring the cold, though the brunt of the 13” reported at mid-mountain from Monday night through this morning occurred on Tuesday night rather than Monday night as originally forecast. While we missed setting record cold temperatures during the storm, the snowpack continued to build, and we are still in record territory for the amount of water stored in the Yampa-White-Little Snake basin since April 1, with equivalent liquid water 150% of the 30 year median.

A transient ridge of high pressure will move through our area today and Friday ahead of a weakening storm currently in the Gulf of Alaska. Temperatures will warm to the mid-thirties today in town, still fifteen degrees below our average of 52 F, but approach that mark tomorrow and the weekend. Mostly sunny skies on Friday should give way to clouds and a small chance of some passing afternoon and evening showers on Saturday as that weakening Gulf of Alaska storm moves overhead, but the clouds should dissipate during the day Sunday ahead of a quintessential stretch of springtime weather lasting for much of the following work week.

Temperatures in the sixties are likely starting Monday as a large ridge of high pressure builds ahead of a strong storm currently developing near the Aleutian Islands, with Tuesday currently looking like the warmest day of the upcoming week. The stretch of springtime weather looks to be interrupted near the end of the work week and the Closing Weekend of the Steamboat Ski Resort as that Aleutian storm makes its way inland. I’ll certainly have more on how that may play out in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon.

Record setting winter continues

Sunday, April 2, 2023

Temperatures are near forty degrees in the town of Steamboat Springs and mid-twenties near the top of the Steamboat Ski Resort under mostly cloudy skies this Sunday noon. Some clearing skies to our west may make it over our area this afternoon as a strong spring snowstorm crosses the Pacific Northwest coast. Monday will be the last warm day of the work week before snows start Monday night and last into Thursday, along with another couple of chances to break the records for the coldest high temperatures on Tuesday and Wednesday, and perhaps the coldest low temperature for Thursday.

yampa-white-little_snake Snow Water Equivalent through 2 April 2023Before we get to the next blast of winter starting Monday night, note that our river drainage system has more water in the snowpack on this date since this metric first started being tracked in the winter of 1985-1986! In the figure, the blue line represents the maximum recorded equivalent liquid water, the black line current values and the green line the median for the thirty years starting in the 1990-1991 winter season.

And we are going to add to our snowpack this week as a strong winter-like storm currently crossing the Pacific Northwest coast moves across the Great Basin on Monday and gets the snows going over our area Monday night.

This storm is similar to the last one on Friday with a very cold air mass originating in Siberia moving across the Pacific while absorbing moisture from another atmospheric river originally formed over Indonesia. While the storm won’t be centered over Nevada until later Monday, we should see gusty winds increase from the west today in the warm air mass ahead of the storm. Temperatures in town are expected to be near our average of 48 F today under partly sunny skies, 

A similar day is expected on Monday, possibly with cloudier skies, as the winds turn to be from the southwest and remain gusty. The storm is forecast to move east across the Great Basin Monday night and move overhead on Tuesday, dragging a strong cold through our area Monday night. While there may be some light snow showers ahead of the front, moderate to heavy snows should accompany the front and continue behind it with snowfall rates possibly over two inches per hour at times, leading to 5-10” by the Tuesday morning mid-mountain report and an additional 2-5” during the day.

Temperatures will plunge behind the front, with temperatures falling to five degrees up top by Tuesday afternoon and possibly subzero on Wednesday and Thursday mornings as a reinforcing waves of cold air pass through on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.

Record cold high temperatures may be set in town on both Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons, with the lowest high temperatures of 32 F set in 2011 and 28 F set in 2009 in jeopardy, though the record low temperatures of -15 F set on Tuesday and -5 F on Wednesday, both in 1945, appear safe. But the record low of 0 F set in 1983 may be broken if skies clear enough as currently forecast by Thursday morning.

While the weather forecast models agree on the likely record-setting cold, they disagree on precipitation amounts, so that part of the forecast is uncertain. Each of the reinforcing waves could enhance snowfall, though moisture is likely to decrease in the very cold air behind the initial front. Another 1-4” could fall around Tuesday night and again Wednesday into Thursday morning, especially considering the dry and fluffy nature of the unseasonably cold early April snowfall.

Temperatures look to recover by Thursday afternoon as the storm departs, with a dry and seasonable weekend currently in the forecast. And for those hungry for above average temperatures, there is hope as a giant ridge of high pressure looks build over the West the following week for this first time this winter. So be sure to check back Thursday afternoon where I’ll discuss that prognosis in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative.

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1 July 2021

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