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First cold front of the season to arrive Labor Day

Thursday, August 31, 2023

Temperatures are nearly eighty five degrees along with breezy winds from the southwest under sunny skies this Thursday mid afternoon. The dry weather this past work week ends ahead of the long Labor Day weekend as modest afternoon shower chances return for Friday and Saturday. Better chances appear Sunday after noon and overnight ahead of our first cold front of the season on Labor Day. Showers may linger on Monday behind the front, or not, depending upon the timing of the front and whether there is some additional trailing energy.

A deepening trough of low pressure is along the West Coast while a storm eddy moves northeast through North Dakota along the top of a summertime ridge of high pressure encompassing most or the U.S., except for the eastern Gulf States. The West Coast trough is forecast to become an eddy and loiter over northern California through mid weekend before additional energy currently over the Aleutian Islands forces the eddy to rejoin the jet stream on Sunday. It then moves eastward across the Great Basin through Monday and is forecast to bring a cold front to our area later Labor Day.

The current breezy afternoon winds thanks to the North Dakota eddy will be gone by tomorrow, but southwest winds ahead of the deepening West Coast trough will draw monsoonal moisture from the south over our area starting on Friday. So look for sunny starts to the day with modest chances for passing afternoon showers on Friday and Saturday.

Precipitation chances increase on Sunday, with showers possible as soon as noon as the West Coast storm begins to move through Nevada. It appears our best chance of showers will be Sunday afternoon and overnight well ahead of the cold front, which should arrive later on Labor Day, but I will have more to say about that timing in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon.

And for those unable to check my forecast on Sunday, we may see some dry air just ahead of the front to start Labor Day in breezy winds from the southwest, or not, though showery weather may appear behind the front in the cool and unstable flow from the west and northwest. The most notable feature of our first cold front of the season will be the cool temperatures on Monday struggling to reach seventy degrees, which will be five to ten degrees below our average of 78 F for that day, and very noticeable after a weekend of high temperatures with an eight handle.

Chance of storms today and Monday followed by warm, dry and breezy weather

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Temperatures are moving toward the upper seventies under mostly sunny skies early this Sunday afternoon in the Steamboat Springs area, though clouds are building to our north and south. A weak cool front tonight keeps storm chances around today and Monday before a storm moving across the northern Rockies through midweek brings warm and dry weather to our area starting Tuesday thanks to increasingly breezy winds from the southwest.

Steamboat Springs has been drying out after the remnants of tropical storm Harold dropped around three quarters of an inch of rain over the mountain area and an inch more than that downtown on Thursday and Friday. Friday was particularly drenching downtown as almost one and a half inches of rain fell in the second half of the day. most of which fell over a short period of time around 4 pm as a storm cell moved directly overhead. I’ve heard reports of hail, especially by the middle school, so feel free to share your storm reports from that afternoon by clicking here.

Mountain-top winds have shifted to be from the northwest as the persistent ridge of high pressure that has influenced our weather this summer builds to our west and a storm system approaches the Great Lakes. A weak cool front in that northwest flow will move through this evening, bringing chances for storms later today and overnight. Afternoon storm chances will linger on Monday as high temperatures fall from the low eighties today to the upper seventies tomorrow, which is a couple degrees below our average of 80 F.

Meanwhile, a storm system currently off the Pacific Northwest coast is forecast to be pushed inland on Tuesday by an upstream storm system currently over the Aleutians. As the storm moves across the northern Rockies through midweek, winds will shift to be from the southwest, bringing dry air overhead with high temperatures returning to the low eighties. These winds will increase as the storm system moves across the northern states, with the breeziest days forecast to be on Wednesday and Thursday.

Another storm system dropping along the Pacific Northwest coast late in the work week is forecast to push the western ridge of high pressure back eastward to the Central Plains, and that allows monsoonal flow from the south on the backside of the high pressure to once again move toward our area by as early as Thursday afternoon.

This push of moisture currently looks to be fairly weak, at least initially, though the amount of moisture will ultimately be determined by the development of this next Pacific Northwest storm system. So be sure to check back for my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon where I’ll have more details on the weather we may see for the long Labor Day weekend.

Here comes Harold with unsettled weather to follow for the weekend

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Temperatures are approaching eighty degrees under mostly sunny skies in the Steamboat Springs area this Thursday mid afternoon. But clouds are building as the remnants of tropical storm Harold move northward from the Four Corners region, with good rainfall expected from later today through Friday night as the former tropical storm moves overhead. Saturday should be a quieter day, but still with good chances for storms, and though more drying is forecast for Sunday, we may still see good chances for showers as a weak cool front approaches our area.

A broad ridge of high pressure is still entrenched over the the Gulf States, though its northern extent has been recently limited by storm systems traveling along the Canadian border. But the key feature for our area to start the weekend is the remnants of the former tropical storm Harold, which developed from that easterly wave I discussed in the last weather narrative.

The remnants are currently just north of the Four Corners region and are forecast to move first north and then east across our area on Friday. While good showers will be possible from later this afternoon through Friday night, the best chance for the strongest thunderstorms will be in the afternoons and evenings of both days. High temperatures will fall to the low seventies on Friday, a bit more than five degrees below our average of 80 F thanks to the abundance of clouds and showers.

The remnants of Harold will be east of our area by Saturday, but the the rich moisture will be slow to leave so the chance for afternoon and evening storms will remain. A wave of energy currently in the Gulf of Alaska is forecast to quickly move across the Canadian border early in the weekend and intensify over the Great Lakes by Monday, shifting our winds to be from the northwest and bringing a grazing cool front near our area by late Sunday. So while Sunday will be drier than Saturday, there may still be chances for afternoon and evening thunderstorms.

There is some uncertainty about this cool front, and thunderstorms may linger on Monday before drier air makes it back into the area by later Tuesday. It’s been a while since we had a generally gray and showery day over our area, so enjoy the break in the hot weather tomorrow, and check back to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon for more details about the weather for next week.

Hot start to the work week

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Temperatures in the low eighties under mostly sunny skies are over the Steamboat Springs area this Sunday noon. Dry skies and high temperatures approaching ninety degrees are forecast for today and Monday before the rest of the work week sees cooling temperatures and increasing precipitation chances.

Our area is currently sandwiched between a ridge of high pressure centered over Oklahoma that extends from the Rocky Mountains to the East Coast and three low pressure areas to our west. One of these is the remnants of former hurricane Hilary moving over northern Baja which is expected to bring inundating rains to the normally very dry areas of southern California and Nevada. The former hurricane is expected to interact with a low pressure area currently off the coast of central California later today and tonight and eventually a storm moving southward along the coast of British Columbia on Tuesday.

All of this weather will stay first to our west and then northwest while we stay under the influence of the expansive high pressure over the Central Plains. Winds rotating clockwise around the ridge will keep winds generally from the south over our through midweek, and while that normally means shower chances for our area thanks to the North American Monsoon, dry air incorporated into the clockwise flow from the East Coast last week means hot and dry weather today and Monday.

We should see high temperatures approaching ninety degrees today and tomorrow, and though the record of 91 F set in 2020 today will likely hold, the high temperature record of 88 F set in 1960 should be challenged.

But the dry air leaves our area by later Monday, and monsoon moisture begins to return by Monday night. It’s likely we won’t see much more than increasing afternoon and evening clouds on Tuesday with only slight shower chances on Wednesday before good chances appear starting around Thursday.

These chances substantially increase thanks to two mechanisms. The first is the flattening of the ridge of high pressure thanks to the remnants of hurricane Hillary, the low pressure off the California coast and the low pressure from British Columbia merging and moving over the northern Rockies around midweek.

The second is a well defined area of low pressure currently off the west coast of southern Florida, which is known as an easterly wave with origins in the eastern Atlantic off the coast of Africa. This wave is forecast to travel from east to west across the Gulf of Mexico and around the southern periphery of the Central Plains high pressure early in the work week, and be eventually carried near or over our area around Thursday and Friday.

While it currently looks likely there will be wetting rains after midweek, there are a lot of moving pieces that may change by then, so be sure to check back to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon for the latest details.

Some precipitation chances to start the weekend

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Near record high temperatures of 89 F are already over Steamboat Springs under mostly sunny skies this Thursday mid afternoon. Moisture rotating around a ridge of high pressure centered over the Texas Panhandle should make it over our area by tonight with modest chances of precipitation on Friday and Saturday, along with cooler temperatures. But the hot and dry weather returns for Sunday and the beginning of following work week.

Troughs of low pressure are currently located over the Great Lakes, off the northern British Columbia coast and off the central California coast while a ridge of high pressure is centered over the Texas Panhandle. Additionally, hurricane Hilary is moving northward toward Baja and is expected to begin merging with the low pressure area off the California coast by the end of the weekend, bringing excessive rainfall first to southern California and then points north.

Hilary is forecast to rapidly weaken as it encounters the cold upwelling currents off the West Coast, though it may still retain tropical storm status as it makes landfall over southern California. That would be a rare feat as that last happened in 1939, and it would be the first tropical storm to hit Nevada if it maintains its strength and current projected track.

But our weather will be far more benign as all that excitement stays to our west. Monsoonal moisture caught up in the clockwise circulation around the Texas Panhandle ridge should be drawn over our area starting tonight, with afternoon and evening showers possible on Friday and Saturday.

The record high temperature of 90 F will be threatened today, though we will have to wait for the official temperature records of the weather station by the high school to be published. High temperatures will fall to around our average of 82 F on Friday and Saturday as afternoon clouds gather and bring modest chances of precipitation that will last into the night.

The high pressure ridge over the Texas Panhandle is forecast to move toward eastern Oklahoma by the end of the weekend and amplify over the Central Plains, cutting off our moisture supply and returning our high temperatures back to the upper eighties on a dry Sunday and mid eighties to start the work week.

There is hope for more moisture around or just after midweek as the merged former hurricane and California trough travel northward early in the work week and merge with another wave of low pressure forecast to cross the Gulf of Alaska. All of this should eventually nudge the Central Plains ridge of high pressure eastward, opening our door for another surge of monsoonal moisture from the south.

So enjoy another summer weekend and be sure to check back for my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon where I’ll be discussing what right now appears to be good chances for precipitation starting around midweek.

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23 June 2017

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