Wednesday, May 10, 2023
After a sunny morning, mostly cloudy skies and breezy winds with temperatures just shy of seventy degrees are over the Steamboat Springs area early this Wednesday afternoon. Those seventies are not coming back anytime soon as a storm currently approaching the Four Corners brings wet and cool weather for Thursday. The cool temperatures will warm a bit Friday and a bit more for the weekend as the heaviest precipitation ends and becomes more showery.
The eddy I discussed in the last weather narrative on Sunday is currently just southwest of the Four Corners region and some of it is forecast to move along the southern Colorado border through Thursday morning before turning northeast and moving towards Nebraska on Friday.
Those increasing clouds this afternoon will likely produce showers, but with more gusty wind than rain as precipitation evaporates before reaching the ground in the dry lower atmosphere. But as the eddy moves across southeastern Colorado on Thursday, the atmosphere will moisten as moisture from the Gulf of Mexico is incorporated into the southerly flow ahead of the storm.
Meanwhile a large storm currently in the Gulf of Alaska is forecast to elongate towards Hawaii, and the southwesterly winds ahead of the storm will build a large ridge of high pressure across western Canada.
Additionally, a leftover piece of the wave of energy that initially formed the eddy off the California coast on Sunday is forecast to move underneath the building ridge of high pressure and across the northern Intermountain West on Thursday. The southern part of this wave will mix with some of the Gulf of Mexico moisture incorporated into the eddy and bring periods of steady precipitation for Thursday with high temperatures likely only in the forties, fifteen or so degrees below our average of 63 F.
Snow levels will initially be above 10,000′ feet before dropping to as low as 9,000′ feet under the heavier showers, so all rain is expected in town, a rain-snow mix at mid-elevations and eventually all snow at higher elevations, leaving an inch or two near the top of the Steamboat Ski Resort by Friday morning.
By then, an odd atmospheric dance is forecast to take place between the eddy to our east and the departing wave to our north, and unbelievably, pieces of both are forecast to merge into a new eddy. This new feature is then forecast to become trapped under the ridge of high pressure and move westward back toward our area on Saturday and eventually through the Great Basin during the weekend! So Friday will see temperatures warm by about five degrees with some showers possible as the eddy moves by our area.
Coincidentally, some energy ejecting out of the southern part of the Gulf of Alaska storm is forecast to move across Baja on Friday and draw moisture from the Gulf of Mexico northward through Colorado by Saturday. The combination of the eddy moving westward across the Great Basin and the Gulf of Mexico moisture moving through Colorado means unsettled and cool weather under the clouds. However, there is dry air just to the west of the Gulf of Mexico plume of moisture, and there is uncertainty if this drier air makes it over our area during the weekend for periods of sun.
Temperatures will warm another five degrees for the weekend regardless, and there may or may not be shower chances depending upon the track of the westward moving eddy and plume of Gulf of Mexico moisture.
The possibility of unsettled weather looks to continue into the new work week, but be sure to check back Sunday afternoon for an updated forecast in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative.
Sunday, May 7, 2023
Temperatures are in the low fifties under mostly cloudy skies this Sunday mid-afternoon in Steamboat Springs. After some precipitation on both the weekend mornings, shower chances remain this afternoon and evening before the unsettled weather temporarily abates. While Monday still has a chance for afternoon showers, those are gone for Tuesday and the first part of Wednesday before a potent storm brings a chance for significant precipitation on Thursday that may hang around for awhile.
Our current unsettled weather is courtesy of the second part of a wave of energy and moisture ejecting out of a broad trough of low pressure extending from the Gulf of Alaska through the Great Basin. The first wave Saturday morning brought snowflakes to town and 3” to the mid-mountain powdercam at the Steamboat Ski Resort and another 2” this morning before it quickly melted during both mornings.
More showers are on our doorstep and will continue through this evening before the atmosphere warms and slowly dries on Monday. Temperatures will be rise toward our average of 62 F on a mostly sunny day with a slight chance of afternoon and evening showers.
Meanwhile, no less than three disturbances are forecast to move around and through the Gulf of Alaska low pressure area through Monday, with the last one diving southward along the California coast by Tuesday afternoon and forming an eddy just north of Baja.
Temperatures will rise several degrees further on Tuesday for a beautifully sunny spring day as warm and dry air is carried over our area by winds from the southwest ahead of the eddy.
Weather forecast models have struggled mightily with the evolution of that eddy, so there is a lot of room for changes, but right now that eddy is forecast to move from the Desert Southwest on Tuesday night toward the western Colorado border by Wednesday. More dry air ahead of the storm should keep sunny skies overhead through Wednesday morning before first clouds and then shower chances increase by later in the afternoon and evening as the cold front associated with the storm moves through our area.
Our high temperatures on Wednesday will be dependent upon the arrival of clouds, but we could see the warmest temperatures of the week in the mid to upper sixties and perhaps even seventy degrees if the cold front arrives later in the day.
Precipitation will ramp up along and behind the cold front as the eddy moves across Colorado. Even now as I’m writing, the latest weather forecast model guidance has shifted the track of the eddy further south, and the amount and duration of precipitation will be dependent upon the eventual track of that eddy.
Regardless of how much precipitation we eventually get, Thursday is likely to be a raw spring day with high temperatures in town in the forties, with any precipitation falling as dense snow above 9,000′ and rain or a rain-snow mix in town at times.
At this point, due to the extreme uncertainty in the forecast, I am going to reserve any precipitation guesses until Wednesday when I plan to publish my regularly scheduled weather narrative a day early.
Thursday, May 4, 2023
Temperatures near sixty degrees and a mix of sun and clouds are over the Steamboat Springs area late this Thursday afternoon as pieces of a storm to our west move overhead. More showers are on our doorstep and will move through the area within the next hour. After a mostly sunny Friday morning, additional pieces of the storm will move overhead through the weekend with more shower chances and cool temperatures before nice weather returns to start the work week.
A storm currently centered near Nevada has ejected a wave of energy and moisture that began moving over our area this morning, leading to some brief early morning showers that reappeared around noon. Despite the sunshine this afternoon, high temperatures only reached our average of 60 F thanks to the cooler air associated with the approaching storm.
The initial wave of the storm will be northeast of our area by midnight after which we should see a cooler Friday with highs in the mid-fifties and a chance of afternoon storms.
Some energy and cooler air currently moving southward along the West Coast will reinvigorate the storm over Nevada even as another storm that just crossed the Dateline approaches the coast. The Nevada storm will be reluctantly forced eastward by the Dateline storm and will move overhead in pieces between Friday and Sunday nights before it finally clears our area by Monday.
High temperatures on Saturday will drop to the low fifties with even some snowflakes possible in town Friday night and an inch or two of snowfall accumulations at mid-mountain by Saturday afternoon as cooler air associated with the parent storm continues to seep into our area.
Temperatures will warm several degrees on Sunday, but the chance of afternoon and evening storms persist. By then, the Dateline storm is forecast to be in the Gulf of Alaska, and after mixing with some cool air from the north, move southward along the West Coast as it strengthens.
This storm is eventually forecast to move near or over our area by midweek, though weather forecast models disagree if it moves overhead or north of our area. They do agree, however, that winds ahead of that storm will bring drier skies and warming temperatures to start the work week.
Be sure to check back to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon where I’ll have more details on the incoming midweek storm and whether it will be close enough to bring possibly significant precipitation.