Frigid temperatures on Tuesday behind Monday snow and ahead of midweek snow

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Temperatures are in the low twenties this Sunday mid afternoon in Steamboat Springs as light snow showers continue. Snows should pick up again tonight and last through Martin Luther King Jr. Day as an arctic front sweeps through the area during the day. Frigid temperatures follow on Tuesday with lows in the negative teens at all elevations, though the appearance of the sun will help make a cold day feel warmer. The break in the weather will be brief as another storm similar to the one last night restarts snow showers on Wednesday that last into Thursday.

The overall weather pattern has changed little in the last week with ridges of high pressure over the Gulf of Alaska and Greenland still sandwiching a deep and very cold vortex of air that extends across Canada and covers most of the United States. The strong temperature difference between the warm air in the Gulf of Alaska and bitterly cold air associated with the vortex has fueled a strong jet stream that brought high winds to our area starting on Friday.

And though wind speeds have decreased after Saturday morning, they are still strong with Storm Peak Lab near the top of the Steamboat recording winds of 28 mph gusting to 38 mph this afternoon. Unfortunately, as experienced by those who were in the snow today, these winds adversely affected the approximately 16” of snow that fell between last night and this noon.

These winds will also be here tonight as a lobe of energy and moisture rotates around the vortex of cold air, eventually bringing an arctic front through our area starting Monday morning. High temperatures of the day will likely occur at midnight tonight and fall through the day, and winds look to peak very early in the morning with speeds as high as 30 mph and gusts twice that.

These winds will start increasing this evening as snow showers restart thanks to the approaching arctic front, and become moderate to heavy at times overnight before tapering off during the day. Including the 4” that fell this morning after the ski report, expect between 8-16” of new snow on the Monday morning report, with another 2-5” during the day in which mountaintop temperatures fall from around ten degrees in the early morning to zero by noon and -10 F by 6 pm, on their way to around -15 F by Tuesday morning.

Those minus teens look to also be over the town as skies clear overnight, though the mostly sunny skies on Tuesday will make the chilly day feel warmer. The break in the weather will be short lived as a piece of a storm currently over the Aleutian Islands breaks under the ridge of high pressure in the Gulf of Alaska and incorporates some subtropical moisture in another atmospheric river event similar to the storm over our area last night.

The timing of the storm is still changing a bit, but right now snow showers are forecast to start during the day Wednesday, perhaps early in the day. Snowfall should peak Wednesday afternoon and overnight, leaving 8-16” by the Thursday morning report, with light snow showers tapering off in the morning.

A ridge of high pressure looks to move overhead for the end of the work week and the beginning of the weekend, though more unsettled weather is advertised for later in the weekend as the ridge keeps moving east. I’ll have more details about that in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon,

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26 April 2023

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