Sunday, October 29, 2023
Temperatures are only in the upper twenties in the town of Steamboat Springs and ten degrees near the top of the Steamboat Ski Resort under mostly cloudy skies this Sunday mid afternoon. After near record low temperatures Monday morning, the sun returns for most of the work week and temperatures grudgingly rise from the mid thirties today and Monday toward the mid fifties by Thursday.
A ridge of high pressure is currently just off the West Coast while a deep and cold trough of low pressure extends from Hudson Bay through our area and all the way to Baja. Winds between these high and low pressure systems are from the north and northwest and are continuing to carry very cold air originally sourced from the arctic overhead.
But the accumulating precipitation associated with the wintry storm has ended even as clouds and some flurries linger in the cold and unstable flow from the northwest after leaving around three inches in town and eleven inches at the top of the Steamboat Ski Resort. The arctic air mass left behind means high temperatures today will struggle to reach freezing even with peeks of sun.
The ridge of high pressure is forecast to weaken and move slowly east through the work week thanks to an active Pacific jet stream. The likely clearing skies by tonight will conspire with the fresh snow cover to produce low temperatures in the low single digits on Monday morning, approaching our low temperature record of zero degrees for the date, with the favored low lying reaching the subzero realm.
The cold start to Monday means another cold day with high temperatures in the thirties despite the abundant sunshine. But the warmer air mass associated with the approaching ridge of high pressure will allow both low and high temperatures to slowly rise through the work week with forecast low temperatures rising to the upper single digits on Tuesday morning, mid teens on Wednesday morning and approaching our average of 21 F on Thursday morning.
Likewise, the high temperatures will also rise toward our average of 50 F by Wednesday, with the high temperature in the mid forties for Halloween requiring an extra layer under the costumes of the trick-or-treaters.
The high temperatures for Thursday will even be around five degrees above average before a series of weakening Pacific storms approach our area beginning around the end of the work week. While we will see increasing clouds as soon as later Thursday, whether we see any precipitation is still being sorted out in the weather forecast models. So enjoy the sunny weather to start the work week and check back to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon for details on the coming weekend weather.
Thursday, October 26, 2023
After temperatures reached the upper fifties by noon with periods of sun on this Thursday in Steamboat Springs, they have plummeted and the snow has started by mid afternoon. This first wave of snow will mostly end by this evening with a break on Friday before a stronger second wave brings additional snow and cold on Saturday that should last into Sunday.
A ridge of high pressure currently extends from Alaska southward along the West Coast while a deep and cold trough of low pressure extends from Hudson Bay southwestward toward the Desert Southwest. The first of two waves of snow is currently moving through our area, and the very noticeable cold front was marked by sharply falling temperatures after the high temperature of the day of 58 F was reached at the Bob Adams airport at 1:35 pm.
Snow is already accumulating on the non paved surfaces as of 4:30 pm, and we should see around an inch in town and several inches on the mountain as the snow ends around mid evening along with the departing wave.
Friday should actually be a relatively pleasant but cool day with periods of sun and high temperatures reaching around fifty degrees, which is a bit below our average of 54 F. And I mean relative to the gorgeous weather of the past work week with the high temperature reaching 75 F on Sunday and 69 F on Monday.
Don’t be fooled by the nice Friday since a stronger and colder second wave is forecast to move across Idaho early on Saturday and eventually across our area later Sunday. Energy rounding the base of the wave is forecast to carry Pacific moisture over our area and will restart snowfall by Friday night.
As the wave moves into the Great Basin Saturday and Saturday night, persistent snowfall becomes established over or near our area along a stationary front that separates the cold air to our north from the warmer air to our south.
Snowfall looks to continue into Saturday night before tapering off on Sunday, with several inches possible in town and 8-16” possible at the top of the Steamboat Ski Resort. Travel over Rabbit Ears Pass will likely be difficult during the height of the storm between Friday and Saturday nights.
While the forecast today indicates the snowfall will taper off on Sunday, it could end earlier or later in the day as weather forecast models often struggle with the progression of stationary fronts. Regardless, unseasonably cold air will follow the second wave carrying an associated arctic air mass overhead, with high temperatures reaching only near forty degrees on Saturday and near freezing on Sunday.
But the low temperatures will eventually be mid winter-like, with Sunday morning in the teens and, if the skies clear as forecast later Sunday night, Monday morning near zero degrees. This is over twenty degrees below our average of 22 F, and even below the 5 F average low temperature in January!
The ridge of high pressure off the West Coast is forecast to slowly move overhead through the next work week, so the early Halloween weather forecast is cold and dry as temperatures only slowly modify. But be sure to check back as I’ll have more details about that in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon.
Sunday, October 22, 2023
Temperatures are in the mid sixties with light breezes under mostly sunny skies early this Sunday afternoon in Steamboat Springs. High temperatures will remain in the sixties through midweek before a couple of strong storms from the Pacific Northwest bring much colder air and unsettled weather to our area as soon as Thursday.
A weak wave currently traveling over our area has brought a few clouds and breezes and about five degrees of cooling compared to our high temperature of 73 F yesterday at the Bob Adams airport, which was over fifteen degrees about the average of 56 F. The southern end of a splitting wave currently over northern California is forecast become an eddy by Monday as it travels first south through southern California and then east across the Mexican border through midweek, which is further south than originally forecast in my last weather narrative on Thursday afternoon.
While we will not see any weather from this eddy, with high temperatures on Monday similar to today, the northern part of the wave will brush our area Monday night and knock temperatures to the low sixties on Tuesday with some modestly increased breezes and a few clouds.
Concurrently, a strong and cold storm is forecast to develop and move southward along the British Columbia today and Monday before impacting Washington and Oregon by later Tuesday. Weather forecast models have struggled mightily with this wave, and the one behind it, for the last week, but are now closer to agreeing that this first wave will swing across the Great Basin on Wednesday and approach our area as soon as Thursday.
The wave currently is forecast to weaken as it grazes our area on Thursday or Friday, but might be close enough and strong enough to bring some snow to the higher elevations and rain changing to snow in town. And weather forecast models agree on more cold air and moisture behind it, though they disagree on how much of that we see during the weekend and possibly into the following work week.
So enjoy the last of the nice days in October during the first half of the work week, and be sure to check back to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon where I’ll have more details on the coming storms.
Thursday, October 19, 2023
Temperatures are approaching the upper sixties under brilliant sunny skies this Thursday mid afternoon. This nice weather is forecast to continue through the weekend ahead of a cooler and unsettled weather pattern starting early in the following work week.
A ridge of high pressure currently sitting over the West is sandwiched between a trough of low pressure extending south from the Gulf of Alaska and another extending south from Hudson Bay through the Midwest. Warm temperatures reaching over ten degrees above our average of 58 F will persist through the weekend, with the thermometer reaching seventy degrees on Friday and Saturday. Low temperatures will be within several degrees of freezing under the warm dome of high pressure, which is over five degrees above our average of 25 F.
The Gulf of Alaska trough is forecast to shear apart as a storm currently over the Bering Sea moves eastward, with the southern end crossing the Pacific Northwest coast on Sunday. This will force a weak low pressure area currently off the coast of southern California to move underneath the ridge of high pressure and toward our area by mid weekend. The small amount of moisture associated with this should bring afternoon and evening clouds to our area on Saturday and Sunday, with a degree or two of cooling on Saturday compared to Friday and that again on Sunday compared to Saturday.
The Pacific Northwest storm is forecast to strengthen late in the weekend thanks to a wave of cold air moving southeastward from Alaska, though there is uncertainty with respect to how much cold air is incorporated into the storm and how much continues eastward.
Right now, enough cold air is forecast to be incorporated into storm to make it form an eddy over southern California by Monday before moving across the Desert Southwest on Tuesday. While the eddy will not affect our weather early in the work week, what’s left of the wave of cold air from Alaska will bring a weak cool front through our area around Monday afternoon. This starts an unsettled weather pattern promising cooling temperatures and increasing shower chances with snow likely by week’s end.
There are a lot of moving pieces that will affect our weather next week, so get out and enjoy the beautiful weekend weather and check back for my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon for more details on the coming unsettled weather.
Sunday, October 15, 2023
Sunny skies with temperatures in the mid forties are over the Steamboat Springs area late this Sunday morning. Continued sunny skies will allow temperatures to warm though the work week except for a dry cool front forecast to brush our area on Wednesday.
The wintry storm centered on last Thursday brought over an inch of precipitation to town with maybe a couple of inches of snow on the non paved surfaces, with over two inches of liquid water and almost a foot of snowfall at and above Rabbit Ears Pass.
Skies grudgingly cleared on Friday, and Saturday brought mostly sunny skies just in time for the annular eclipse Saturday morning, shown in the accompanying photo. While the spectacle was unsafe to view with the naked eye, there was no such restriction on a camera lens! Internal reflections within the lens created the artifacts apparent in the photo, with the first internal reflection showing a flipped image of the eclipsed sun and the second internal reflection showing a much fainter and properly oriented image just above.
The cold air associated with the storm will continue to modify today under continued sunny skies as a ridge of high pressure moves overhead, allowing high temperatures to reach into the upper fifties, just shy of our average of 60 F. Temperatures are headed toward the mid sixties on Monday and upper sixties on Tuesday as the ridge is forced eastward by a storm crossing the Pacific Northwest later Monday.
That storm is forecast to move across Montana on Tuesday and drag a weak and dry cool front through our area on Wednesday, with high temperatures only dropping by about five degrees into the low sixties under continued mostly sunny skies.
Another ridge of high pressure ahead of a developing storm in the Gulf of Alaska will move overhead and nudge temperatures back to the mid sixties on Thursday and to near seventy degrees on Friday to cap a beautiful work week. The nice weather currently looks to continue into and possibly through next weekend before uncertainty around the evolution of the Gulf of Alaska storm appears. Be sure to check back for details about that in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon.