Hot temperatures only cool a bit by midweek as thunderstorm chances increase

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Temperatures are already in the mid eighties in Steamboat Springs under mostly sunny skies early this Sunday afternoon. High temperatures will approach ninety degrees today and low nineties tomorrow with only a slight chance of an afternoon or evening storm that would likely produce more wind than rain. High temperatures cool toward the mid eighties by midweek as moisture and chances for showers increase modestly.

A large ridge of high pressure is currently over the West while a large storm is located in the Gulf of Alaska. That storm has been slowly moving eastward, and this has pushed the ridge of high pressure eastward as well, placing it directly overhead today and tomorrow. Expect hot high temperatures well above our average of 84 F approaching ninety degrees today and even several degrees warmer on Monday.

Before the ridge moved overhead, we saw winds from the northwest on Friday and Saturday transport a bit of smoke from wildfires burning along the Idaho and Montana borders to our area. But as the ridge has moved eastward, winds have shifted to be more from the west and the smoke plume forecast model shows smoke clearing the area.

Similar to last week, that Gulf of Alaska storm is forecast to move eastward across the northern Rockies through midweek, flattening the ridge of high pressure and nudging it further east. Moisture originating from around the Gulf of California is forecast to first move northward around the ridge and then eastward over our area on Tuesday and Wednesday, and possibly Thursday, leading to increasing cloud cover and shower chances. However, like last week, the chances for rain hitting the ground are modest, and any storms will also produce gusty winds as some of the precipitation evaporates before reaching the ground in the dry lower levels of the atmosphere.

Wednesday looks like the coolest day of the week with near average temperatures before the ridge of high pressure rebounds and moves back westward behind the still eastward moving Gulf of Alaska storm. High temperatures look to move back to the upper eighties for the end of the work week as the atmosphere dries, and that looks to continue to start the following weekend.

Let’s hope for some wetting rains centered around midweek, and be sure to check back Thursday afternoon for my next regularly scheduled weather narrative where I’ll look at the position of the ridge of high pressure for the end of the weekend and whether moisture can make it back to our area.

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31 May 2021

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