Hot and dry days ahead

Sunday, August 13, 2023

Temperatures are currently in the mid seventies in Steamboat Springs under mostly sunny skies early this Sunday afternoon. Mid summer like heat is returning to the Yampa Valley for most of the work week, and though some moisture may trickle overhead starting midweek, any meaningful chances for precipitation will hold off until the start of the weekend.

Ridges of high pressure are currently centered over the Pacific Northwest coast and Texas with a trough of low pressure stubbornly located off the southern coast of California. Some moisture has been present the last few days as southerly winds between the low pressure off Califonia and the high pressure over Texas brought monsoonal moisture northward, but our area was too far north to see any more than clouds, sparse raindrops and gusty winds.

A separate area of low pressure is currently located over the Dakotas, and northerly winds behind the trailing cool front has shunted most of the moisture over our area south, leading to a dry day today with gusty afternoon winds from the north and northwest and pleasant high temperatures around eighty degrees.

This low pressure is forecast to travel into the Ohio River Valley through the early part of the work week, forcing the Texas ridge of high pressure back westward to the Four Corners by midweek. So look for mid summer like heat to envelope Colorado through most of the work week, bringing high temperatures to the low eighties on Monday and mid to upper eighties on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, almost five degrees above our average of 82 F.

Some moisture may lurk underneath the ridge of high pressure near and mostly south of our area on Wednesday and Thursday, though any meaningful chances for precipitation will have to wait for the end of the work week. Longer range weather forecast models agree that a low pressure area currently over the Aleutian Islands will weaken as it approaches the Vancouver coast around Friday, and push the ridge of high pressure over the Four Corners back east toward Texas.

Combined with the low pressure area still loitering off the coast of southern California, winds from the south or southwest should carry another healthy monsoonal surge of moisture toward our area by the start of the weekend.

There is also a tropical weather system forecast to move toward Baja by the end of the work week, and some moisture from that may be routed towards our area, though there is considerable weather forecast model disagreement on the track of that disturbance, especially later in the weekend.

So soak up the mid summer heat, and I’ll be back with my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon where I’ll discuss the possible return of moisture to the Yampa Valley for the weekend.

Passing showers possible through the weekend

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Temperatures are in the upper seventies under mostly sunny skies in the town of Steamboat Springs this Thursday mid-afternoon. After a couple of delightfully cool and dare I say fall-like days this past Tuesday and yesterday, look for temperatures to rebound to the low eighties today and lasting through the weekend. Some moisture has returned to the region today and may result in a chance of passing showers in the afternoon and evening, with those chances highest, but still modest, today and Friday.

A ridge of high pressure is currently over Texas while a weak and broad trough of low pressure is off the West Coast. Winds from the south between these features have transported warmer temperatures and some monsoonal moisture overhead, leading to today’s clouds. There may be a possibility of passing showers today that produce more wind than rain as whatever falls out of the cloud evaporates in the dry lower levels of the atmosphere.

More of the same is forecast for Friday, with perhaps a slightly better chance of rain reaching the ground as the lower atmosphere moistens thanks to any windy showers today. While another push of monsoonal moisture is forecast across most of Colorado on Saturday, northwesterly winds associated with the jet stream to our north may be far enough south to discourage that moisture from making it over our area, or not.

A wave in the jet stream currently approaching the southern British Columbia coast is forecast to graze our area on Sunday, though not much weather will be associated with it as moisture is sparse and the still strong mid August sun will quickly modify the air mass.

Previous iterations of the weather forecast models had monsoonal moisture returning to our area by Sunday afternoon, but now the latest runs show the grazing cool front strong enough to keep the monsoon moisture south of our area on Sunday, and likely Monday as well.

So be sure to enjoy another summer weekend from our rapidly dwindling supply, and check back to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon where I’ll discuss whether our area sees a return of monsoonal moisture after the start of the next work week.

Breezy winds with some storms possible through midweek

Sunday, August 6, 2023

Breezy winds and temperatures in the upper seventies are over the Steamboat Springs area early this Sunday afternoon with thunderstorms to our north and south. Several disturbances will pass near the northern Colorado border and our area through the work week, continuing the breezy winds and modest chances for showers.

The hot air associated with a flat ridge of high pressure centered over the Desert Southwest is being kept south of our area by a strong-for-early-Augst jet stream extending from the southern Gulf of Alaska across the northern Great Basin and into the central U.S. Our proximity to the jet stream will keep the breezy winds around for the work week as several Pacific waves embedded within the jet stream, in addition to waves rotating around the northern periphery of the ridge of high pressure to our south, periodically move through the area.

While afternoon heat may lead to thunderstorm activity, the upward motion associated with these waves can also support the storms, as evidenced by the last several days of nocturnal, or overnight, thunderstorms in our area.

It looks like we will have modest chances of showers later today through about Wednesday morning, including possibly overnight, as these waves periodically pass near our area. These showers are not likely to produce a lot of rain, though brief locally moderate rain and gusty winds are possible with any of them.

High temperatures look to remain around eighty degrees today and Thursday, several degrees below our average of 83 F, with slightly cooler temperatures in the mid to upper seventies through midweek thanks the cooler air and clouds associated with the waves.

Dry weather with more of the same comfortable temperatures look to close out the work week and start next weekend, though we may start to see some moisture returning during the middle of the weekend associated with a possible return of the monsoon, as well as a tropical disturbance bubbling up from Baja. So be sure to check back Thursday afternoon for my next regularly scheduled weather narrative where I’ll highlight the weather for the coming weekend.

High temperatures around eighty degrees and drying skies for the weekend

Thursday, August 3, 2023

Temperatures are in the upper seventies with some storms passing by Steamboat Springs on this Thursday mid afternoon. Drier air from the southwest will approach our area for the weekend, but its northern extent will be limited by winds over northern Colorado generally from the west and northwest. This means slight chances for afternoon and evening thunderstorms along with high temperatures around eighty degrees.

The monsoonal push of moisture this week was not nearly as productive as advertised, and though we received rain every day this week, rain totals around town only amounted to between a tenth and a tenth and a half of an inch.

A Pacific wave currently over southwestern Wyoming is forecast to lift into north central Wyoming tomorrow and partially merge with a Pacific wave moving southeastward across the Canadian Plains. The resulting storm will strengthen as it moves into South Dakota on Saturday, and we will see our winds turning to be from the current southwest to the west on Friday and northwest by Saturday behind the storm.

Dry air currently over California is forecast to move toward the Four Corners on Friday, but its northern extent will be limited by the winds associated with the Wyoming storm. It looks like the most significant drying will be over areas to our south, so the lingering moisture means slight chances for afternoon and evening storms on Friday and Saturday for the Steamboat area. Temperatures will be quite pleasant with highs around eighty degrees, four degrees below our average of 84 F, and lows within several degrees of our average of 47 F.

Storm chances increase modestly for Sunday as another Pacific disturbance slips in behind the Wyoming storm and grazes our area as the pleasant temperatures persist.

Even though the ridge of high pressure currently centered over the Gulf Coast states is forecast to move back westward to the Desert Southwest and amplify through the next work week, its northern extent will be limited by additional Pacific waves moving over or near our area. So look for continued comfortable temperatures and slight storm chances to start the work week, and I’ll be back with my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon to discuss if this pleasant weather lasts through the week.

Rain chances high for most of the work week

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Temperatures are already around eighty degrees in Steamboat Springs under sunny skies late this Sunday morning. Today will be the hottest day of the week with high temperatures once again around ninety degrees before significant moisture belatedly arrives in the first monsoonal surge of the season. Good precipitation chances will exist through at least midweek as high temperatures gradually cool into the seventies ahead of a possibly brief drying trend for the end of the work week.

An upper level ridge of high pressure is currently sitting over the West while a lower level ridge of high pressure is located over Oklahoma. Clockwise flow around the Oklahoma high pressure is bringing moisture from Mexico northward over the Desert Southwest on the backside of the high in a belated arrival of the North American Monsoon.

We’ve already seen some of the moisture over our area this weekend, which is earlier than I thought in last Thursday’s weather narrative, and this has led to some thunderstorms producing as much as a few hundredths of an inch of rainfall scattered around town along with gusty winds yesterday. This additional moisture has also lead to warmer overnight lows around five degrees above our average low temperature of 47 F as it insulates the earth like a blanket.

More of the same is on tap for today as high temperatures once again rise to around five degrees above our average high of 84 F, with modest chances for afternoon and overnight storms. But those chances increase on Monday as copious moisture arrives over our area and precipitation is enhanced by disturbances rotating along western periphery of the high pressure centered over Oklahoma through midweek.

Wetting rains associated with monsoonal surges are usually on the meager side near the beginning as the atmosphere moistens, but look for increasing precipitation chances as storms form later in the day and overnight Monday. And high temperatures will cool to around average thanks to the cloud cover, though those overnight clouds will also keep low temperatures mild and in the low fifties.

Unfortunatley, the same winds transporting the moisture overhead will also transport smoke from the recently started York wildfire in California, located near the southern tip of Nevada, over our area starting tonight and lasting through Monday according to the latest NOAA smoke plume model.

Good chances for wetting rains exist on Tuesday and Wednesday both during the day and overnight as the core of the monsoonal moisture surge remains overhead and high temperatures cool to the mid-seventies. By Thursday, the monsoonal moisture plume is interrupted by winds turning to be from the west ahead of several Pacific disturbances moving inland. Significantly, this is the first time this season the Pacific jet stream has enough energy to modify the persistent ridge of high pressure over the West, and the jet stream will only strengthen going forward as cold air begins to build over the North Pole.

There will likely be enough residual moisture for afternoon and evening storms on Thursday with continued high temperatures in the mid-seventies, with some brief drying ahead of what looks like a period of northwest flow and embedded thunderstorms heading into next weekend. So be sure to check back to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon where I’ll be discussing this upcoming pattern change and what it means for next weekend.

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21 May 2021

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