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.

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8 March 2018

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