Afternoon shower chances increase to start the week

Sunday, May 21, 2023

A gorgeous spring Sunday is over the Steamboat Springs area with temperatures just above seventy degrees and mostly sunny skies as of mid-afternoon. While temperatures will be similar through midweek, afternoon and evening shower chances increase as moisture from the southwest overruns our area. But shower chances decrease and temperatures nudge upward to end the work week.

A ridge of high pressure is currently centered over the Rocky Mountains while an area of low pressure approaches the Pacific Northwest coast. Clockwise circulation around a high pressure cell in southeast Wyoming has brought winds from the north and northeast over our area, and evidently has carried some smoke from wildfires in western Canada overhead the last few days.

With smoke already affecting our area, I have placed the air quality widget back on the SnowAlarm home page and removed the avalanche map, and have also added the smoke forecasts back to the SnowAlarm website.

The Pacific Northwest low pressure area is forecast to move inland on Monday and split, with the southern part moving southward along the West Coast through midweek before eventually forming some sort of eddy over central California by the end of the work week.

So what can we make of this complicated pattern? Our winds will turn to be from the west on Monday as the Pacific Northwest storm moves inland, and this displaces the high pressure cell to our north and another one currently located in Nevada to the east, and introduces some Pacific moisture. While temperatures won’t change much and mornings will remain mostly sunny, chances for afternoon and evening storms increase.

By Tuesday and Wednesday, moisture increases further for good shower chances after noon and extending through the evening.

The eddy is forecast to move east and eventually loiter over Nevada by the end of the work week. On Thursday, much drier air from the Desert Southwest is forecast to be carried by winds from the southwest ahead of the eddy over our area, substantially reducing the chance of late day showers as we head into the long Memorial Day weekend.

The weather next weekend will be dependent upon the evolution of the Nevada eddy, with the European ECMWF moving the eddy very little or even to the north, leading to a dry weekend, and the American GFS more aggressive in moving the eddy eastward, leading to a wetter late-weekend forecast. So be sure to check back to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon to see how that eddy is evolving and what weather we may expect for the long Memorial Day weekend.

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30 April 2022

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