Wintry weather to arrive later Monday

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Temperatures are in the fifties in the town of Steamboat Springs and the forties near the top of the Steamboat Resort under sparkling blue skies late this Sunday morning. After another gorgeous spring day today and a similar start to Monday, an approaching wintry storm will bring snows back to our area by Monday night with significant high-elevation accumulations expected by Tuesday. Cool and unsettled weather looks to last into the weekend as another cool storm impacts our area starting by Wednesday night.

A wintry storm in the form of an eddy is currently sliding down the southern California coast and is forecast to move across the Great Basin through Monday and Colorado Monday night. High temperatures today will likely be the warmest of the last several warm days with upper sixties predicted, which is almost fifteen degrees above our average of 54 F.

After another nice start to Monday, clouds will increase after noon ahead of the approaching storm with showers breaking out later in the day. Showers should become moderate to heavy overnight as the eddy passes near our area and intensifies to our east thanks to moisture incorporated from the Gulf of Mexico. Winds will shift from the south ahead of the storm to the northwest and north by Monday night behind the storm with moderate to heavy showers continuing through the morning as the Gulf of Mexico moisture wraps around the backside of the storm.

Snowfall rates over an inch per hour at times will make travel difficult over Rabbit Ears Pass between Monday night and Tuesday noon, with 4-8” of snow expected for the Monday morning mid-mountain ski report and another 3-6” between report time and Monday afternoon. The precipitation in town will be a mix of rain and snow, with the heavier showers leaving an inch or two in town by Tuesday morning with high temperatures struggling to reach fifty degrees.

We should see a break in the precipitation later Tuesday into Wednesday, though the clouds may stick around with high temperatures in town rising into the fifties. But another cold storm currently moving through the Gulf of Alaska is forecast to move through the Pacific Northwest and at least graze our area by later Wednesday or Thursday, with a stationary front possibly setting up over our area through the rest of the work week and into the Closing Weekend of the Steamboat Resort.

There is a fair bit of uncertainty with how strong this front is and how long it will reside near or over our area, but at least some additional snowfall is possible. So enjoy what looks like another powder day on Tuesday, and be sure to check back to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon for more details on the Closing Weekend weather.

Gorgeous weekend ahead

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Temperatures are near forty degrees in the town of Steamboat Springs and mid-twenties near the top of the Steamboat Resort under brilliant blue skies late this Thursday morning. And as springlike as today will be, even warmer temperatures and continued mostly sunny skies are on tap for a gorgeous weekend.

Before getting to what will be a rare-this-winter easy weather forecast, the mystery of the 10-meter vs. 12-meter wind discrepancy at the Storm Peak Lab last Saturday has been resolved. The lab director confirmed that rime ice formed on the lowest sensor leading to inaccurate wind speed and direction measurements.

There will be no chance of that happening again through the weekend as a ridge of high pressure brings mostly sunny skies and high temperatures in town in the sixties, about ten degrees above our rapidly rising average temperature of 54 F.

A weak and diffuse area of low pressure currently approaching southern California is forecast to scoot through the ridge of high pressure and bring some clouds overhead later Friday into Saturday morning. But that won’t affect the gorgeous spring weather arriving in time for all the events during the eariler-scheduled-and-now-delayed Closing Weekend at the Steamboat Resort.

Enjoy the spectacular weather through the weekend as it won’t last! It is springtime in the Rockies after all, which means our next storm is currently brewing in the Gulf of Alaska. Like some past storms, this one is forecast to slide southward along the West Coast early in the weekend and briefly form an eddy before moving toward our area early in the work week.

So be sure to check back to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon where I’ll have details on what may be a week of almost daily precipitation chances.

Temperatures to slowly warm this work week

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Temperatures are only in the mid-thirties in Steamboat Springs and low teens near the top of the Steamboat Resort this Sunday mid-afternoon, and despite some sunshine, brisk winds are making it feel like mid-winter rather than early spring. Temperatures will slowly warm each day through the work week with more sun than clouds except for midweek when a weak wave brings a chance for some showers. And thanks to the departing storm moving a bit further north than earlier forecast, there is a better chance for unobstructed viewing of the partial solar eclipse that will cover a maximum of 59% of the sun at 12:38 pm on Monday.

Three day timeseries at Storm Peak Lab (elevation 10,525') of temperature at 5 m and wind at both 10 m and 12 mBefore getting to the weather narrative, note that I have added another product to the SnowAlarm home page under the Local Temperatures, Winds & Precipitation heading in order to get a more accurate description of the winds near the top of the Steamboat Resort. I did this when trying to make sense of the wind speed and direction yesterday at the Storm Peak Lab, which is adjacent to the top terminal of the Morningside lift. As shown in the figure, I’ve added the wind speed and direction observed at the supplemental height of 12 meters below those observed at 10 meters, which is the standard measuring height for wind. I do not know why there was such a large discrepancy between those data yesterday, but the discontinuities in speed and direction are absent with the taller sensor.

Also, note how quickly we changed from spring to winter, with the temperature falling over thirty degrees between late Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, accompanied by snowfall rates as high as three inches per hour between 1:30 am and 5 am.

The storm responsible for that current winter blast is currently approaching the border between South Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa while another much weaker storm dives south through Nevada toward the Desert Southwest. Cool air is forecast to only slowly moderate through the work week as our area is caught between the two storms and remains cut off from warmer air to our south.

After showers end later today, they look to be relegated to our north and south tomorrow, with a good chance that there will be unobstructed viewing of the partial solar eclipse, which peaks at 12:38 pm on Monday. Temperatures in town will warm to around forty degrees, which is quite cool and over ten degrees below our average of 52 F, but warmer than today!

Look for mid-forties on Tuesday under mostly sunny skies, with the warming interrupted on Wednesday as a weak cool front to our north brushes our area. High temperatures should be similar to Tuesday, along with some clouds and a chance of some showers at the higher elevations.

The warming reemerges on Thursday with mostly sunny skies and near-average high temperatures, with even warmer temperatures in the sixties advertised for Friday.

Enjoy the increasingly pleasant work week, and be sure to check back to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon where I’ll discuss what is looking like a rare nice start to our weekend with perhaps a wintry end.

Wintry weather to return this weekend

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Temperatures are in the mid-forties in Steamboat Springs and upper-thirties near the top of the Steamboat Resort under brilliant blue skies late this Thursday morning. Warm temperatures will persist through Friday as winds increase ahead of a strong storm that will bring snow to all elevations starting Friday night and continuing through the weekend.

The ridge of high pressure responsible for our gorgeous spring weather extends from northern Mexico to the Canadian Plains and is sandwiched between two wintry storm systems over West Coast and the Northeast. This weather pattern is forecast to move eastward through the weekend due to the strong Pacific jet stream and another developing storm passing over the Aleutian Islands.

Temperatures approaching sixty degrees, almost ten degrees above our average of 51 F, are expected today under mostly sunny skies. While we will see similar temperatures on Friday, the approaching storm will have moved into the Great Basin and will affect our area with increasing winds from the south, with gusts as high as 50 mph possible during the afternoon.

The cold front associated with the storm should move through Friday night with moderate to heavy snow showers and the possibility of snow squalls, making travel difficult at times over Rabbit Ears Pass. Winds should briefly slacken late Friday night and early Saturday morning as the center of the storm passes near our area. We could see 4-8” of snow by the Saturday morning mid-mountain ski report with high temperatures in town plunging into the low thirties, almost thirty degrees colder than Friday, and high temperatures near the top of the hill near twenty degrees.

Snowfall is expected to continue on Saturday, but with increasing winds as the storm strengthens to our northeast. Wind gusts could reach 60 mph during the afternoon out of the northwest and west with another 1-4” of accumulating snowfall expected during the day.

Meanwhile, that Aleutian storm is forecast to make landfall along the Pacific Northwest coast Saturday night and move into the Desert Southwest by Monday even as the storm to our northeast moves over the Colorado-Wyoing-Nebraska border and continues to intensify. Snowfall should pick back up Saturday night or early Sunday as favorable cool and unstable moist northwest flow on the backside of the storm moves overhead with another 2-5” of accumulations possible by noon.

Temperatures are only expected to slowly warm starting Sunday as we are caught between the departing storm to our northeast and the storm moving eastward across the Desert Southwest, with some passing clouds and showers on Monday which may or may not interfere with the viewing of the partial solar eclipse over our area that will cover a maximum of 59% of the sun at 12:38 pm.

Be sure to check back to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon where I’ll have more details on the viewing conditions for the Monday noon eclipse and when we may see spring return to the Yampa Valley after the wintry weekend blast.

Gorgeous spring weather to reappear after some snow tonight and Monday

Sunday, March 31, 2024

Temperatures are in the mid-forties in Steamboat Springs and mid-twenties near the top of the Steamboat Resort with breezy winds under mostly cloudy skies late this Easter morning. The snow that should have been here by now looks to hold off until late this afternoon or early evening with modest accumulations expected on the hill by Monday morning. Another round of showery snowfall is expected for later Monday before skies clear on Tuesday and temperatures warm toward sixty degrees by the end of the work week.

SNOW WATER EQUIVALENT IN YAMPA-WHITE-LITTLE SNAKE as of 31 March 2024Before the weather forecast, north-central Colorado reached a milestone yesterday when the water stored in the Yampa-White-Little Snake basin snowpack surpassed our median peak of 21.4 inches, as shown in the accompanying graph. The blue line is the aggregate maximum, the red line is the aggregate minimum and the green line is the median over the last 30 years. The median peak is marked by the X (not formerly known as Twitter!). Note that we have reached this level a week ahead of the median peak of April 7, and we are certainly not done adding water to the snowpack.

Now, a large and complex storm currently extends from the northern Baja coast through the Great Basin and into the Canadian Plains. Additionally, a large ridge of high pressure centered over the Gulf of Alaska is directing waves of cool air and moisture from the north toward the Great Basin. The southern part of the storm to our southwest has formed an eddy and is responsible for the gusty winds from the southwest.

The eddy has moved further south than originally forecast, creating a stronger split between the northern and southern portion of the storm and delaying the arrival of cooler air from the northwest. So precipitation is now not expected to start until late this afternoon or early evening with 2-5” expected by the Monday morning mid-mountain ski report, along with subsiding winds.

Some of the cool air is forecast to move southwest across the Great Basin and drop into the backside of the eddy tonight, forcing most of it across the Desert Southwest through Monday. We should see a break in the precipitation to start Monday before brief and sometimes moderate to heavy showers reemerge by Monday afternoon and evening, leaving 1-4” of snow on the hill.

Meanwhile, another strong storm currently over the Aleutian Islands is forecast to move east and push the ridge of high pressure inland. So expect warming temperatures and mostly sunny skies to start Tuesday and last through Thursday, with high temperatures in town reaching the upper forties on Tuesday, mid-fifties on Wednesday and upper fifties on Thursday and Friday, five to ten degrees above our average of 51 F.

Meanwhile, that eastward-moving Aleutian storm is forecast to begin affecting the Pacific by midweek and elongate southward along the West Coast by Thursday. Winds from the southwest will begin increasing by later Thursday ahead of the storm with windy conditions expected on a still-warm Friday. So enjoy the upcoming gorgeous spring weather and be sure to check back to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon where it looks like I will be discussing our next round of wintry weather for the coming weekend.

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1 April 2018

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