Another round of unsettled weather starts later Monday

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Temperatures are in the upper-thirties under rare mostly sunny skies in the town of Steamboat Springs this Sunday noon. Be sure to soak up the sun today as more unsettled weather returns later Monday and lasts into Wednesday, though this round won’t be as cold as the weather we experienced last week. But after a break on Thursday, cold and snowy weather looks to return for Friday.

The Steamboat Ski Resort’s mid-mountain powdercam showed an additional 5” from another cold storm between Friday and Saturday morning, matching what I measured on my deck. The cold was noteworthy, and the low temperature record on Thursday morning of 8 F recorded in 1927 and the coldest high temperature of 30 F recorded in 1920 are in jeopardy, though we will have to wait for the not-yet-posted official measurements from the climate monitoring station near the high school.

There is still a large area of cold low pressure spinning in the Gulf of Alaska, and a transient ridge of high pressure ahead of a couple of ejecting waves has brought the sunny weather over the area today. Though it will feel much warmer than most of the preceding work week, high temperatures in town are only expected to be in the upper forties, still around ten degrees below our average of 57 F.

Clouds will come and go tonight and tomorrow before the first relatively warm and weak wave brings chances for rain or a rain-snow mix in town later Monday and Monday night, with several inches of accumulating snow possible at mid-mountain.

The stronger second wave is forecast to move southeastward across the Great Basin on Monday and form an eddy near the Four Corners area on Tuesday, bringing a strong cold front through our area during the day. We should have all snow in town by later Tuesday with up to several inches of accumulation possible by Wednesday. Of course, higher elevations will do better, with another 5-10” possible before the storm departs the area.

Incidentally, the Front Range and its adjacent foothills are favored for heavy precipitation when an eddy is near the Four Corners region, thanks to the counterclockwise circulation around the eddy forcing moist winds from the east up the Rocky Mountain barrier. This so-called upslope will make a trip to Denver Tuesday afternoon quite difficult as not only Rabbit Ears Pass but the I-70 and I-25 corridors will be affected by periods of moderate to heavy precipitation through Wednesday morning.

As the eddy clears Colorado, we will see a break in the weather from later Wednesday into Thursday before parts of a storm currently near Kamchatka eventually bring another round of unseasonably cold air and snow to our area around Friday.

And though obviously subject to change, current forecasts have a ridge of high pressure and nice spring weather moving over the West behind the Kamchatka storm sometime around the following weekend or soon thereafter. I’ll know more about that as well as discuss the likely Friday snowstorm in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon.

Cool temperatures and unsettled weather to persist through the weekend

Thursday, April 20, 2023

After a mostly sunny morning with a chilly start, skies are clouding over in the town of Steamboat Springs this Thursday noon with temperatures in town only near thirty degrees. The wintry weather which started Tuesday night will be overhead through the first half of the weekend, with snow showers today giving way to another round of significant snows on Friday and Friday night. Snow showers will taper off on Saturday with temperatures grudgingly warming on Sunday ahead of another storm system for early in the following work week.

After the 5” of snow that fell on Wednesday as observed on the Steamboat mid-mountain powdercam, Steamboat Springs woke up today to temperatures around 9 F under mostly clear skies, with the record low of the day of 8 F in 1927 in jeopardy and dependent upon the not-yet-posted official measurement from the climate monitoring station near the high school.

The wintry weather is not going away anytime soon as a large area of low pressure in the Gulf of Alaska continues to shed storms that move over our area in favorable cool and moist northwest flow. High temperatures in town are forecast to be mired in the thirties today and tomorrow, and near forty degrees on Saturday, which are well below our average of 56 F.

And while we will see snow showers this afternoon as any surface heating further destabilizes the atmosphere with another inch possible on the hill, that changes tomorrow as a quick moving storm creates moderate to sometimes heavy snow showers Friday afternoon and overnight. Snowfall rates as high as an inch per hour will make driving difficult over Rabbit Ears Pass, and by Saturday morning there could be several inches of new snow in town and 5-10” at mid-mountain of the Steamboat Ski Resort, for those willing to hike.

Snow showers will end in town on Saturday and taper off during the day at higher elevations as the storm departs. Temperatures are forecast to warm into the mid to upper-forties on Sunday with some morning sun, with afternoon and evening showers a possibility with minimal or no accumulations as surface heating again destabilizes the atmosphere.

Temperatures warm another few degrees on Monday even as another storm from the northwest approaches later in the day. Early indications are this storm will be comprised of a couple of waves, with the strongest moving overhead on Tuesday with another round of significant snows possible.

So be sure to check back for my next regularly scheduled weather narrative Sunday afternoon to see how much snow we received from the Friday storm and what we may expect form the next early week weather-maker.

Nice start to the work week ahead of cool and unsettled weather

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Temperatures are near thirty degrees in the town of Steamboat Springs and upper teens near the top of the Steamboat Ski Resort under bluebird skies this Sunday mid-morning. After the last two days of wintry weather, pleasant spring weather returns today for Closing Day and lasts until midweek when cool and unsettled weather returns.

While we spent the first part of the month in record territory for equivalent liquid water in the snowpack of the Yampa-White-Little Snake drainage basin as measured since 1986, the warm weather last week and above freezing temperatures at night at even the highest elevations caused 2.5” of liquid water to runoff, dropping us 3” below the record for this date, but still 141% of the median.

Currently, a transient ridge of high pressure is moving through the West ahead of a large storm churning in the Gulf of Alaska and behind our just-departed wintry storm. That storm boosted the reported-this-morning season totals to 448” at mid-mountain and 563” up top, despite the several inches of snow that fell yesterday morning and subsequently melted during the sunny afternoon.

The ridge of high pressure is forecast to be briefly centered over our region on Monday, making that the warmest day of the work week and raising our high temperatures from the low-fifties today to the upper-fifties under continued mostly sunny skies, several degrees above our average of 54 F.

Tuesday will be another warm day, however clouds will increase in the afternoon along with strong winds from the southwest ahead of the inland-moving Gulf of Alaska storm. The forecast evolution of the storm is still in flux as pieces of energy eject out ahead of the storm even as more cold air from Alaska pours into the backside of the storm.

Right now, it looks like a cold front will move through our area Tuesday night, bringing a period of unsettled weather lasting through the work week, along with much colder high temperatures around fifteen degrees below average, give or take five degrees. It will be cold enough for at least a rain-snow mix in town in the afternoon and snow overnight, though only several inches are expected through the work week. Of course, all snow is forecast for the hill, with initial amounts looking in the 3-6” range, though that could easily halve or double depending on how much storm energy and moisture eventually moves through our area.

A ridge of high pressure may briefly move overhead for part of the weekend for nicer weather, though there is weather forecast model disagreement both among themselves and each other as to exactly when that may happen. So enjoy the spring weather to start the work week and I’ll be back Thursday afternoon with my next regularly scheduled weather narrative with a look at the weekend weather.

Wintry weather to start Closing Weekend arrives tonight

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Temperatures are near fifty degrees in the town of Steamboat Springs and forty degrees near the top of the Steamboat Ski Resort under mostly sunny skies this Thursday mid-morning. Our spectacular week of spring weather will end today as a wintry storm on our doorstep brings a couple of cold fronts through the area starting this evening, along with snow at all elevations. High temperatures in town to start the weekend will fall into the thirties before temperatures moderate on Sunday as skies clear behind the departing storm.

The first cold front associated with a storm currently in the Great Basin is passing through Salt Lake City, and will reach our area this evening. The mostly sunny morning today should give way to increasing clouds later this afternoon with breezy winds from the southwest before precipitation breaks out this evening. Rain or a rain-snow mix will start at elevations below mid-mountain before turning to all snow by midnight as temperatures plummet behind the front.

We should see several inches of accumulation on the Friday morning mid-mountain ski report, with that again during the day as high temperatures reach only the mid-twenties near the top of the hill and upper-thirties in town, around twenty five degrees below our average high of 54 F in town.

A colder reinforcing wave of moisture and energy is forecast for Friday night, keeping the snows going and dropping temperatures into the teens near the top of the hill by Saturday morning. The colder temperatures will decrease snow density as the temperatures fall Friday night, with another several inches of fluffier snow producing 3-6” by the Saturday morning report. Snow showers will taper off during the day Saturday in the favorable cold, moist and unstable flow from the northwest with another several inches possible.

With the current mid-mountain snowfall accumulation of 442”, reaching the 450” milestone for the season is certainly a possibility by Saturday afternoon.

If skies clear as expected by Sunday morning, the day will start off chilly but quickly warm as a ridge of high pressure moves overhead behind the departing storm, with high temperatures in town recovering to the low fifties for a pleasant Closing Day.

The following week will start with temperatures warming further toward sixty degrees before a storm may or may not graze our area around midweek. I’ll know more about that possibility in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon.

Spring fever arrives in Steamboat Springs

Sunday, April 9, 2023

Temperatures are near freezing at all elevations in the Steamboat Springs area as clouds depart on this Easter Sunday morning. A stretch of beautiful spring weather will continue into midweek before clouds and winds increase ahead of a storm for the end of the work week that looks to bring snow back to our area.

A large area of low pressure currently over the eastern Pacific extends from Alaska southward halfway to Hawaii. Warm air carried northward ahead of the storm will force a ridge of high pressure to build over the West through midweek, bringing mostly sunny skies and warm temperatures.

While high temperatures will approach our average of 52 F today, they should approach 60 F on Monday and mid to upper-sixties on Tuesday and Wednesday with lots of sunshine for a beautiful stretch of spring days.

Meanwhile a storm currently near Kamchatka is forecast to move across the northern Pacific and dislodge the area of low pressure over the eastern Pacific by midweek. The low pressure area will evolve in a complex manner as it enters the Great Basin on Thursday as waves of energy move through, making for an uncertain end-of-week forecast.

Right now, we may see a batch of clouds and increasing winds from the southwest later Wednesday as the storm approaches. Thursday will be the last day of this stretch of spring weather with high temperatures dropping into the upper fifties as clouds briefly dissipate ahead of a strong cold front that should move through later Thursday or early Friday.

A rain-snow mix in town during the day Friday should turn to all snow by Friday night as that Kamchatka storm finally moves through the area of low pressure which will be overhead, with high temperatures in town falling to the low forties, between ten and fifteen degrees below our rising average of 54 F.

Enjoy this gorgeous stretch of hard-to-come-by spring weather and I’ll be back with my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon with more details on our next wintry storm. At this point, with 442”of snowfall at mid-mountain so far this season, there is a chance we can reach the 450” milestone by Closing Day.

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31 May 2021

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