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Rain chances high for most of the work week

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Temperatures are already around eighty degrees in Steamboat Springs under sunny skies late this Sunday morning. Today will be the hottest day of the week with high temperatures once again around ninety degrees before significant moisture belatedly arrives in the first monsoonal surge of the season. Good precipitation chances will exist through at least midweek as high temperatures gradually cool into the seventies ahead of a possibly brief drying trend for the end of the work week.

An upper level ridge of high pressure is currently sitting over the West while a lower level ridge of high pressure is located over Oklahoma. Clockwise flow around the Oklahoma high pressure is bringing moisture from Mexico northward over the Desert Southwest on the backside of the high in a belated arrival of the North American Monsoon.

We’ve already seen some of the moisture over our area this weekend, which is earlier than I thought in last Thursday’s weather narrative, and this has led to some thunderstorms producing as much as a few hundredths of an inch of rainfall scattered around town along with gusty winds yesterday. This additional moisture has also lead to warmer overnight lows around five degrees above our average low temperature of 47 F as it insulates the earth like a blanket.

More of the same is on tap for today as high temperatures once again rise to around five degrees above our average high of 84 F, with modest chances for afternoon and overnight storms. But those chances increase on Monday as copious moisture arrives over our area and precipitation is enhanced by disturbances rotating along western periphery of the high pressure centered over Oklahoma through midweek.

Wetting rains associated with monsoonal surges are usually on the meager side near the beginning as the atmosphere moistens, but look for increasing precipitation chances as storms form later in the day and overnight Monday. And high temperatures will cool to around average thanks to the cloud cover, though those overnight clouds will also keep low temperatures mild and in the low fifties.

Unfortunatley, the same winds transporting the moisture overhead will also transport smoke from the recently started York wildfire in California, located near the southern tip of Nevada, over our area starting tonight and lasting through Monday according to the latest NOAA smoke plume model.

Good chances for wetting rains exist on Tuesday and Wednesday both during the day and overnight as the core of the monsoonal moisture surge remains overhead and high temperatures cool to the mid-seventies. By Thursday, the monsoonal moisture plume is interrupted by winds turning to be from the west ahead of several Pacific disturbances moving inland. Significantly, this is the first time this season the Pacific jet stream has enough energy to modify the persistent ridge of high pressure over the West, and the jet stream will only strengthen going forward as cold air begins to build over the North Pole.

There will likely be enough residual moisture for afternoon and evening storms on Thursday with continued high temperatures in the mid-seventies, with some brief drying ahead of what looks like a period of northwest flow and embedded thunderstorms heading into next weekend. So be sure to check back to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon where I’ll be discussing this upcoming pattern change and what it means for next weekend.

Good moisture arrives after hot and dry weekend

Thursday, July 27, 2023

Temperatures are right at our average of 84 F in Steamboat Springs under partly sunny skies this Thursday mid afternoon. What little moisture that is around today may produce some passing showers with more wind than rain, but will be replaced by dry air on Friday and temperatures approaching ninety degrees through the weekend. But a subtle pattern change starting at the end of the weekend promises good precipitation chances next week.

A flat ridge of high pressure currently sits over most of the U.S. while a storm in the Gulf of Alaska approaches the Vancouver area. Some afternoon thunderstorms have developed over the higher terrain of Colorado to our southwest, and along with the increased cloud cover we may see some passing showers with more wind than rain later today and this evening.

The storm near Vancouver is forecast to loiter near the coast through most of the weekend before being forced eastward early next week by incoming Pacific energy. What little moisture that has been around our area these last few days will replaced with dry air currently extending westward from Nevada as winds ahead of the Vancouver storm carry hot air northward and amplify the ridge of high pressure over the length of the Rocky Mountains.

So look for mostly sunny skies starting on Friday and lasting through much of the weekend. High temperatures will rise again to around ninety degrees, though the drier air will allow nighttime temperatures to fall back to around our pleasantly cool average of 47 F.

But a favorable pattern change is promised starting at the end of the weekend as that now eastward moving Vancouver storm disrupts the ridge of high pressure over the Rockies. While most of the ridge stays put, a high pressure cell from the southern end of the ridge is dislodged eastward towards Oklahoma. As winds spin clockwise around the high pressure cell, winds from the south on the backside of the ridge will carry moisture northward and over our area in a classic North American Monsoon pattern.

Clouds will be on the increase later Sunday with a small chance of showers late in the day and overnight, with significant moisture and great precipitation chances currently advertised from Monday through midweek.

So enjoy the hot and dry summer days ahead with its cool nights, and I’ll be back with more details on what is looking like a healthy monsoonal pattern in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon.

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.

Hot and dry for the weekend

Thursday, July 20, 2023

After a shower passed through Steamboat Springs just after this Thursday noon, mostly sunny skies with comfortable temperatures in the mid seventies and relatively high humidities are over our area this mid afternoon. Another quick shower later today cannot be ruled out before drier air invades our area starting on Friday with temperatures rising back toward ninety degrees for the weekend.

A ridge of high pressure is currently over the northern Rockies while a weak wave to its south is over northern Colorado and southern Wyoming, and our area. This wave was responsible for about the tenth of an inch of rain we received just after midnight last night and the couple of hundredths we received just after noon.

Southerly flow ahead of a storm currently in the Gulf of Alaska will force the ridge of high pressure to amplify over the West through the weekend, bringing dry air and warming temperatures to our area. Temperatures will rise to right around our average of 84 F on Friday, with continued sunny skies allowing temperatures to rise into the upper eighties on Saturday and once again breach ninety degrees on Sunday and Monday. The high temperature record for Sunday is 93 F, which will be close to being threatened, but the record of 96 F for Monday appears safe.

There is a chance for some moisture to return to our area around midweek as it circulates around the periphery of a high pressure cell centered over the Four Corners states. This would be similar to the weather regime this midweek, with only modest chances for precipitation, but continued hot temperatures in the upper eighties.

Enjoy the beautiful summer weekend, and I’ll be back Sunday afternoon to discuss more details about the possible moisture for the following work week.

Some moisture for the work week after a hot Monday

Sunday, July 16, 2023

Temperatures in Steamboat Springs are near eighty degrees under mostly sunny skies early this Sunday afternoon, on their way to the upper eighties. Monday will be the hottest day of the summer so far with high temperatures breaching the ninety degree mark before some moisture makes it overhead by later Tuesday. Look for still warm, but decreasing, high temperatures this work week bottoming out in the low eighties by Thursday along with increasing chances of showers from Tuesday afternoon through Thursday night.

A storm is currently approaching the Vancouver coast while a persistent vortex of cold air still extends southward from Hudson Bay through the Great Lakes. A ridge of high pressure over the West sandwiched between these features is forecast to be pushed to the east by the Vancouver storm and be directly overhead on Monday, leading to the hottest day of the summer so far with high temperatures in the low nineties, almost ten degrees above our average of 84 F.

Some moisture originally from the south rotating clockwise around the high pressure will be encouraged to move over our area from the west as that Vancouver storm travels across the northern Rockies through midweek. High temperatures on Tuesday will fall back into the upper eighties as clouds invade the area along with a modest chance of showers by later afternoon and overnight.

An increasing chance of showers exists for Wednesday as temperatures cool further back toward average. Our best, but still modest, chance for precipitation this week should be on Thursday along with continued average temperatures as that original Vancouver storm eventually makes it to the Great Lakes.

Longer range weather forecast models have a decreasing chance of showers and slowly rising temperatures as we head into next weekend, and I’ll have more details about that in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon.

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1 July 2021

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