Unsettled weather to continue through the week

Sunday, April 28, 2024

A gray day is over the Steamboat Springs area with temperatures only in the low forties on this Sunday mid-afternoon. Showers will continue today before taking a break on Monday followed by a quick round of showers Tuesday morning. Another break is advertised for Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday morning, with a Tuesday afternoon shower possible, before a cold front later on Wednesday brings the chance for accumulating snow at all elevations by Thursday morning.

The gusty easterly winds that reached above 50 mph at mountain-top Saturday around noon have been replaced by winds from the northwest behind the departed storm now located over the Northern Plains. Showers have emerged today in the cool, moist and favorable northwest flow and are expected to continue through the the early evening, keeping daytime temperatures in town well below our average of 58 F. The good news is that we will see peeks of sun, though any surface heating will quickly destabilize the atmosphere and force more showers with thunder, brief locally heavy rain and small hail possible.

Meanwhile, a piece of energy rotating around an eastward-moving cold storm in the Gulf of Alaska will force a transient ridge of high pressure over our area on Monday for a pleasant day with high temperatures warming to near average. A cool front associated with that energy is forecast to graze our area Tuesday morning, accompanied by another round of showers with 1-4” of snow possible at and above mid-mountain at the now-closed Steamboat Resort.

We should have some sun Tuesday afternoon, with some showers possible, as the Gulf of Alaska storm moves through the Pacific Northwest and approaches our area on Wednesday. Weather forecast models are struggling with the speed and intensity of the front, but agree it will be colder than the one Tuesday morning, perhaps cold and strong enough to bring snow to the Yampa Valley floor by Wednesday night.

You didn’t think we were done with winter yet, did you? A reinforcing surge of cool air from western Canada behind the storm is currently forecast to move through our area on Thursday, continuing snow showers through the day and overnight. Right now, it looks like there could be several inches of snow accumulation on the unpaved surfaces in town between Wednesday night and Friday morning, and another 4-8” on the hill.

But I would expect some changes to that forecast as we move through the workweek, so be sure to check back to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon.

Cool and wet weekend ahead

Thursday, April 25, 2024

After a beautiful sunny Thursday morning in Steamboat Springs with the high temperature of the day reaching 61 F at noon, skies have clouded over, showers have started and temperatures have fallen to fifty degrees as of mid-afternoon. The current unsettled weather is only a precursor to cooler and wetter weather that will persist through the weekend, with significant snow possible at the higher elevations.

An eddy of low pressure that was earlier off the southern California coast has rejoined the jet stream over Arizona and is moving east thanks to another colder storm currently moving through the Pacific Northwest. The leading storm is forecast to be over northeastern Colorado by Friday morning, with showers continuing through this afternoon and overnight, with an inch or two possible at the now-closed Steamboat Resort by Friday morning.

Meanwhile, the upstream storm is forecast to move through the Great Basin on Friday and be over or just south of our area later on Saturday. Showers should diminish, or even end for a time on Friday between the storm systems before picking up again Friday afternoon and overnight. High temperatures for the day will fall into the mid-fifties, several degrees below our average of 58 F.

The cold front associated with the second storm should move through Friday night accompanied by moderate to heavy showers. Snow accumulations will be limited to elevations above around 9000′, with 2-5” possible by Saturday morning, along with possibly difficult driving conditions on Rabbit Ears Pass at times. High temperatures on both Saturday and Sunday will only approach fifty degrees in town and low thirties near the top of Mt. Werner.

Depending upon the exact storm track, winds may turn to be from the east on Saturday if the storm center is south of us, with gusts as high as 50 mph possible at mountain-top. While an easterly wind usually dooms precipitation for our area, we may see moisture from the Front Range pulled over the Continental Divide and continue showers through the day and overnight. In that case, we could see another 2-5” of snow between Saturday and Sunday mornings at the higher elevations.

The storm is forecast to be over the northeast corner of Colorado by Sunday morning with showers continuing in the favorable, moist and unstable northwest flow behind the storm, with those showers heaviest in the afternoon.

Temperatures are forecast to warm to near average on Monday, though a grazing storm to our north may bring another round of afternoon and evening showers to our area. And for those willing to travel, note that I have added the snowstake cams for Winter Park, Arapahoe Basin and Loveland to the SnowAlarm home page, as those areas could see one to two feet of snowfall from the second storm between Friday night and Sunday morning.

Enjoy the weekend, and I’ll be back with my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon with more details on what is currently looking like typical spring weather for the last days of April and the first days of May.

Classic spring weather to last through midweek

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Temperatures are in the mid-thirties in Steamboat Springs and upper twenties near the top of the Steamboat Resort under brilliant blue skies this Sunday mid-morning. Classic spring weather has arrived for Closing Day today and will last through midweek ahead of a pattern change that will bring unsettled weather back to our area for the end of the work week and the coming weekend.

The Steamboat Resort will close today with a base of 60” at mid-mountain and 108” up top after receiving a season total of 389” of snowfall at mid-mountain. Curiously, the resort does not publish the upper-mountain season total which certainly is far higher. And interestingly, even though the 389” fell short of the 448” received last season by over four feet, we enjoyed six days of a foot or more reported at mid-mountain this season, compared to only two last season!

SNOW WATER EQUIVALENT IN YAMPA-WHITE-LITTLE SNAKE ON 21 APRIL 2024I’ve attached an updated chart of the water stored in the Yampa-White-Little Snake basin snowpack in black which includes the measurements from the 2015-2016 season in red, which water managers say is thus far very similar to this year. The upper blue and lower red lines show the aggregated maximum and minimum snowpack measurements since the 1985-1986 season. Interestingly, the 2015-2016 season shows a couple of storms in late April and early May, and it looks like at least that first storm cycle may be repeated this weekend.

A ridge of high pressure is currently over most of the West while a compact storm is centered over Vancouver. Our weather will be quite pleasant today, with a high temperature around sixty degrees, which is about five degrees above our average of 56 F. Even warmer temperatures in the mid-sixties are expected for Monday, though afternoon winds will be increasing ahead of the Vancouver storm which is forecast to travel along the Canadian border and graze our area.

There may be some showers overnight Monday, with temperatures falling back a few degrees Tuesday as the cool front associated with the storm grazes our area. Light showers will be possible from Tuesday afternoon through the overnight thanks to some moisture and weak energy trailing the storm.

Meanwhile, a storm currently over the Aleutians is forecast to split, with the southern end forming a weak eddy that crosses the southern California coast later Wednesday. A ridge of high pressure ahead of the storm is forecast to bring the warmest day of the week on Wednesday with high temperatures approaching the upper sixties.

That storm is forecast to move through Colorado later Thursday with showers likely by the end of the day. This will mark the beginning of a cool and wet period that looks to last through the weekend as additional Pacific energy moves through the West. So enjoy the classic springtime weather through midweek, and be sure to check back to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon for the latest details on the coming weekend weather.

Unsettled weather to persist ahead of a nice Sunday

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Temperatures are only around forty degrees in the town of Steamboat Springs and low twenties near the top of the Steamboat Resort under partly sunny skies this Thursday noon. Cooler air to our north will keep unsettled weather around through the first half of the weekend, with our best chance of showers from Friday afternoon through Saturday. But a break in the unsettled weather should bring mostly sunny skies and warmer temperatures for Closing Day on Sunday.

A ridge of high pressure currently extending northward from the Gulf of Alaska is flanked by a strong storm over the Aleutian Islands and a vortex of cold air over the Canadian Plains. A waves of cool air rotating around the backside of the Canadian vortex brought a cool front through our area last night with a half inch of snow reported at mid-mountain at the Steamboat Resort and two inches near the summit.

Though some clouds will remain, showers look to stay away from our area until tomorrow afternoon when another cool front approaches our area. We should see showery weather by midday Friday that will persist through some of Saturday, with the best chance of accumulating snowfall at the higher elevations Friday night. There could be some new snowfall by Saturday morning in the 1-4” range.

Temperatures in town may reach fifty degrees today, which is around five degrees below our average of 55 F, with a few degrees of warming on Friday and Saturday. But we should be around five degrees above average by Sunday as that Aleutian storm moves east and forces the Gulf of Alaska ridge overhead and the Canadian vortex of cold air toward the Northeast.

The unsettled weather should return early in the work week as the remnants of that Aleutian storm graze our area with another cool front on Monday, though any precipitation looks to be insignificant at this time.

Let’s hope we can eke out some additional snowfall on the hill early in the weekend, and be sure to enjoy what should be a very pleasant Closing Day at the Steamboat Resort. And be sure to check back to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon for more details on the weather for the coming work week.

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.

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7 May 2021

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