Unsettled weather returns starting midweek

Sunday, May 28, 2023

After a sunny Sunday morning with temperatures reaching the upper sixties early this afternoon, temperatures have dropped into the low sixties as clouds, cooler air and gusty winds due to evaporating precipitation from surrounding showers moved through. Temperatures are forecast to warm into the low seventies on Memorial Day and approach the mid-seventies on Tuesday as shower chances decrease. But an approaching storm by midweek decreases temperatures and increases shower chances, with the unsettled weather likely to hang around through the weekend.

The eddy I discussed last Thursday is currently just off the northern California coast, and is forecast to move southward toward Baja before turning east by later Tuesday and approaching the Four Corners region around midweek.

Until the eddy is in our vicinity, dry air from the Desert Southwest will continue to be carried over our area in winds from the southwest, with decreasing chances for storms on Memorial Day, and likely Tuesday as well. Temperatures will also rise from the low seventies on Monday toward the mid seventies on Tuesday, slightly above our average of 70 F. Like the last few days, there will be some chances for afternoon and evening thunderstorms which will likely produce more wind than rain thanks to precipitation evaporating in the dry lower levels of the atmosphere before it reaches the ground.

Weather forecast models agree that the eddy and its associated moisture eventually reach our area, though disagree whether it happens on Wednesday, like the American models suggest, or on Thursday like forecast by the European ECMWF. Showers will become more numerous with wetting rains likely, especially to close out the work week.

The unsettled weather is likely to persist into next weekend as a wave of subtropical moisture currently approaching the Dateline follows behind the departing eddy. Have a great Memorial Day, and I’ll be back with my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon to discuss the weekend weather.

Pleasant Memorial Day weekend with modest shower chances

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Partly sunny skies with comfortable temperatures in the low seventies are over the Steamboat Springs area early this Thursday afternoon. The pleasant weather with high temperatures in the low seventies is forecast to continue through the long Memorial Day weekend with modest chances for afternoon and evening storms that should not disrupt outdoor plans too much.

A trough of low pressure is currently located over the West Coast states while a ridge of high pressure is centered over Minnesota. The Nevada eddy I talked about in the Sunday weather narrative looks to barely form within the southern portion of the low pressure area before more incoming Pacific energy moves the trough of low pressure to the northeast on Saturday and Sunday.

Generally dry air from the Desert Southwest is and will continue to be carried over our area in breezy winds from the southwest, with perhaps a degree or two of cooling as what is left of the eddy grazes our area Saturday afternoon. While the lower levels of the atmosphere will be dry, there is enough moisture aloft for afternoon and evening storm chances from today through Memorial Day, though they may produce more wind than rain as much of the precipitation will likely evaporate before reaching the ground.

Meanwhile, that incoming Pacific energy is forecast to cut off from the jet stream and itself form an eddy, moving slowly southward from the Oregon coast on Saturday to the southern California coast by the Tuesday after Memorial Day.

Longer term weather forecast models have moisture over our area increasing by midweek as the southern California eddy eventually moves across Arizona and into the Great Basin, though exactly how that happens is not yet clear.

I plan to be traveling on Sunday, so my regular weather narrative on Sunday afternoon may be pushed back to Memorial Day. Those readers who have not yet signed up to have these forecast discussions emailed for free can do so here. Otherwise, enjoy what looks to be a very nice Memorial Day weekend and I will be back on Sunday or Monday.

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.

Pleasant weekend ahead

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Temperatures are around sixty degrees under mostly clouds skies early this Thursday evening over the town of Steamboat Springs after a cool front grazed our area this mid-afternoon. Pleasant spring weather is on tap for the weekend with mostly sunny mornings and modest chances for afternoon and evening showers that may produce more wind than rain.

A ridge of high pressure currently extends from Nevada into Canada while a low pressure area approaches the Great Lakes from the Canadian Plains and another low pressure area spins near Baja. Pieces of the storm from last week have finally resumed normal eastward movement and mixed with a weak cool front associated with the low pressure area approaching the Great Lakes. The end result for our area was a cloudy Thursday afternoon with some sprinkles and temperatures falling from their high of 67 F at 4 pm at the Bob Adams airport to the current sixty degrees.

Moisture will continue to be drawn northward on the east side of the Baja area of low pressure, though its northward extent will barely reach into our area as it battles light winds and dry air from the northwest behind today’s front. We should see mostly sunny mornings from Friday through the weekend with temperatures warming toward seventy degrees on Friday and Saturday and the low-seventies by Sunday, which is about five degrees above our average of 67 F. There will also be modest chances of afternoon and evening showers that may produce more wind than rain thanks to the dry low-level air behind the cool front today.

A piece of a large storm currently in the Gulf of Alaska is forecast to break away and cross the southern British Columbia coast late in the weekend, and we may see increasing chances for precipitation as early as Monday as moisture is carried northward by winds from the south and southwest ahead the southward moving storm.

But that is after what should be a very pleasant spring weekend in Steamboat Springs, and I’ll have more on the week’s coming weather in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon.

Pleasant and seasonable week of weather ahead

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Partly cloudy skies with temperatures in the mid-sixties are over the Steamboat Springs area this Sunday mid-afternoon. A pleasant week of normal spring weather, for a change, is forecast to be over our area with high temperatures warming from the upper sixties to start the work week to just above seventy degrees heading into next weekend. A chance of afternoon and evening showers will be possible on most days, with those chances reduced on Tuesday and Wednesday.

An expansive ridge of high pressure that currently extends from the Gulf of Alaska to the Great Lakes has trapped an eddy that has circuitously traveled first eastward across the Desert Southwest, then northward along the eastern Colorado border and then back westward across the Great Basin. The eddy has only traveled half of what will eventually be a giant ‘S’, starting from the bottom left, with the upper half of the ‘S’ forecast to be traced out this week as the eddy moves from its current position near Oregon back east as it rides through the ridge of high pressure.

The southerly to southeasterly winds on the east side of the eddy has kept moisture from the south over our area, with afternoon shower chances for Mother’s Day today and Monday. High temperatures should be within several degrees of our average of 65 F with a degree or two of warming for Monday.

By then, the eddy is forecast to shear apart as it rejoins the jet stream on the west side of the ridge of high pressure, with the eastern part of the eddy moving back toward our area after midweek. Light winds will shift to be from the west on Tuesday and Wednesday as the eddy regains its normal eastward movement and brings drier air overhead, decreasing shower chances and raising high temperatures close to seventy degrees.

As the eddy moves near our area on Thursday, it may mix with a wave of energy moving southward along the eastern side of the ridge of high pressure centered in Canada. Additionally, a storm in the eastern Pacific that brought the warm air from the subtropics northward and directly caused the ridge of high pressure over western Canada to build is forecast to eject some energy eastward that will eventually form an eddy that settles over the Desert Southwest by midweek.

The counterclockwise circulation around the eddy will once again carry moisture from the south over Colorado, and this will combine with the disturbances just to our north to increase afternoon and evening shower chances for the end of the work week.

Right now, those storms to our north are forecast to clear the area for the weekend, with temperatures warming into the low seventies along with decreasing afternoon and evening shower chances. But there will still be the loitering Desert Southwest eddy that may eventually carry more moisture over our area for increasing storm chances at some point. So be sure to check back for my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon where the weather for next weekend will be in sharper focus.

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26 June 2021

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