Citizens for a Better Plan

Unsettled weather returns mid weekend after a nice Friday

Thursday, November 16, 2023

After rain and then snow showers through the morning in Steamboat Springs, rain showers in town and snow showers above Christie Peak have returned this Thursday mid afternoon with temperatures near forty degrees. Precipitation will taper off through the evening before the sun returns and temperatures warm for a nice Friday and most of Saturday. However, a couple of storm systems bring inclement weather back into our area from later Saturday through Monday.

An eddy of low pressure is currently off the coast of California while a quick moving wave is traversing the Northern Plains. Our precipitation today has been caused by the interaction between energy and moisture ejecting out ahead of the eddy and the southern part of the Northern Plains wave as it passed through the area this morning. The relatively warm air mass associated with the eddy has limited any accumulating snowfall in town, with maybe an inch falling in a short period of time mid morning. Fortunately, the mid mountain powdercam and the upper mountain powdercam were operational during the event and indicated about 3” or so of accumulations.

Showers should taper off through this evening before mostly sunny skies return for Friday and boost the high temperature to near fifty degrees, which is over five degrees above our average of 43 F. Saturday should be similar until the afternoon when increasing clouds will mark the start of the next multiday storm.

A wave currently moving through the western Gulf of Alaska is forecast to mix with some cold air moving southward from Alaska and intensify through the first half of the weekend. The resulting storm is then forecast to kick the eddy now off the coast of California eastward through the Great Basin on Saturday before this trailing storm moves southeastward through the Great Basin on Sunday.

While the eddy is forecast to weaken as it moves across Colorado later Saturday into Sunday, there will be enough energy and moisture to restart the mix of rain and snow showers in town and snow showers on the hill by Saturday night.

These will persist through both Sunday and Monday as temperatures cool thanks to the trailing second storm. The storm track has trended further west and is now forecast to move through Nevada Saturday night, Utah and the Four Corners on Sunday and New Mexico on Monday.

The pair of storms will drop the high temperature on Sunday back to average with an even cooler Monday in the high thirties. But the amount of precipitation is quite uncertain as small changes in the track of the trailing storm will likely lead to large differences in snowfall. Right now, 1-3” are expected in town between Saturday night and Monday afternoon with 5-10” at the top of the Steamboat Ski Resort.

I expect those amounts will change over the next few days as the storms make landfall and enter a denser observational network. This will increase the accuracy of the predicted storm tracks and I hope to have a more certain forecast in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon. And as the Steamboat Ski Resort has scheduled Opening Day for Wednesday, November 22, I’ll also be discussing what looks like good chances for snow and cold right after Thanksgiving Day.

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4 February 2024

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