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Typical spring weather ahead of Wednesday cool front

Sunday, May 12, 2024

Temperatures are in the low sixties in Steamboat Springs under partly cloudy skies this Sunday mid-afternoon. Typical spring days with mostly sunny mornings and possible afternoon showers will start the work week before we see a more active day on Wednesday thanks to a passing cool front. An afternoon shower will be possible on Thursday before a dry Friday may bring our first seventy-degree day of the season. That beautiful weather looks to persist into the beginning of next weekend.

The pesky storm to our south that first affected our area with wintry weather a week ago is finally on its way out after leaving a departing gift of ten inches of fresh Mother’s Day powder at the Arapahoe Basin Ski Area overnight. That storm was coerced to move east thanks to a storm currently moving through the Gulf of Alaska which will cross the Pacific Northwest coast tonight.

We should see mostly sunny mornings on Monday and Tuesday, with a small chance of an afternoon shower on Monday and a high temperature in the mid-sixties, which is right at our average of 65 F. Better chances for showers are forecast for later Tuesday as energy ejected out ahead of the approaching storm from the northwest passes overhead.

Weather forecast models have struggled with the evolution of the storm the last several days, and are settling on a weakly splitting system that brings a cool front through our area on Tuesday night accompanied by showers. High temperatures will fall to near sixty degrees on Wednesday with good chances for showers during the day, especially in the afternoon.

Temperatures rebound back to the mid to upper sixties on Thursday behind the departing storm, and there may be a stray afternoon shower thanks to lingering moisture. But mostly dry and sunny weather returns to start the weekend thanks to a flat ridge of high pressure that may bring our first seventy-degree day to the Yampa Valley as soon as Friday.

Another storm is forecast to approach our area by the end of the weekend or the beginning of the next work week, and as is often the case in the spring, there is weather forecast model disagreement on the timing and strength of the incoming storm. So be sure to return to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon for the latest details.

Weather to improve for the weekend

Thursday, May 9, 2024

Mostly cloudy skies with temperatures in the mid-forties and stout winds from the east are over the Steamboat Springs area this Thursday mid-afternoon. After the last three wintry days, spring weather returns starting today as temperatures slowly warm through the weekend. And though we will see decreasing clouds with some sun in the mornings, chances for afternoon showers remain.

The storm that abruptly brought wintry weather back to our area Sunday night has split in a rare longitudinal direction, with the western part of the storm currently west of our area and responsible for the unusual easterly winds. The storm brought snow and very cold temperatures to our area for three days in a row, with Tuesday registering the coldest high temperature for the date of only 35 F, which broke the previous record of 37 F set in 1978. Monday would have been close too except that the day’s high temperature occurred at midnight, just before the cold front barreled through the area.

The storm is forecast to continue moving west through Friday, before moving east again after reaching Las Vegas Friday night. While the easterly winds will diminish through Friday, energy and moisture rotating around the storm will keep the clouds around on Friday with afternoon showers likely. High temperatures will warm from around fifty degrees today to the mid-fifties on Friday, which is still almost ten degrees below our average of 63 F.

The storm is forecast to be over the Four Corners by later Saturday, so we may see some sun in the morning before afternoon showers are again likely, though precipitation will be heaviest and longest lasting over central and southern Colorado. High temperatures will increase a bit too as they approach sixty degrees.

The storm moves across central and southern Colorado on Sunday, with perhaps more sun in the morning and several degrees of warming from Saturday. And even though the storm is then forecast to be moving through Kansas, afternoon showers with high temperatures in the upper sixties are expected on Monday.

But a piece of a cold storm currently over the Aleutian Islands is expected to approach our area by Tuesday or Wednesday. There is weather forecast model disagreement on the speed and strength of the storm, so be sure to check back to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon for more details on the approaching storm.

Wintry weather to return tonight and last through midweek

Sunday, May 5, 2024

A windy day with overcast skies and temperatures in the mid-sixties is over the Steamboat Springs area this Sunday mid-afternoon. The winds are in advance of a strong cold front that will start snow at all elevations around midnight tonight and continue accumulating snowfall through Tuesday, even in town. While most of the precipitation will be over by later Tuesday, cool temperatures and showery weather will continue through the work week and into next weekend.

Today will be the warmest day of the week as winds from the south increase ahead of a powerful winterlike storm that brought 26” of snowfall to Palisades Tahoe as of the morning ski report. The center of the storm is currently entering northern Utah, and in advance of the storm we are seeing strong winds and warm temperatures in the mid-sixties, which is about five degrees above our average of 61 F.

Wintry weather returns with a vengeance around midnight tonight as the cold front associated with the storm sweeps through the area. Moderate to heavy snowfall with rates over an inch per hour at times should leave 3-6” at mid-mountain at the now-closed Steamboat Resort and an inch or two in town by early Monday morning.

Another 3-6” should fall on the hill during the day Monday, and with high temperatures in town twenty degrees below average and only around forty degrees, another inch or two could fall in town with continued very strong winds from the west. As cold as that is, it looks like the record of 37 F in 1978 for the coldest high temperature in town is safe, but not by a lot!

While we should see the snows subside or even end by Monday night, the weather will not improve on Tuesday as energy slingshot around a second very cold storm in the Gulf of Alaska brings another round of snowfall to our area. With temperatures in town still mired near forty degrees, another 3-6” should fall on the hill with another inch or two in town.

While the bulk of the precipitation should be over by Tuesday night, the cold will linger as the Monday storm is forced to rotate back to the west thanks to a stout ridge of high pressure extending from the Midwest back towards British Columbia. Waves of energy still rotating around the storm will keep those forty-degree high temperatures around on Wednesday with some occasional light showers.

Unusually, the weather forecast models have the initial storm continuing to move slowly westward before forecasting some of it to move southward back into the Great Basin on Wednesday. While the exact track of the storm will determine whether we see more precipitation, temperatures are forecast to slowly warm to around fifty degrees on Thursday and mid-fifties by Friday with generally unsettled weather lasting into the beginning of the weekend.

But I expect changes to that forecast during the week, so relish the upcoming May snowstorm and be sure to check back to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon for details on what we may expect for Mother’s Day weekend.

Quick-hitting storm on Friday to precede a pleasant weekend

Thursday, May 2, 2024

Filtered sunshine, cool breezes and temperatures in the mid-forties are over the Steamboat Springs area this Thursday mid-afternoon. Another cool and quick-hitting storm will bring some precipitation to our area on Friday afternoon ahead of warming temperatures and clearing skies to start the weekend. But a much stronger and longer-lasting wintry storm to start the work week will bring increasing clouds and breezes on a still-warm Sunday.

Contrary to the storm on Monday night that brought 3.5” of snow to mid-mountain and some brief accumulations on the grassy surfaces in town by Tuesday morning, the storm last night only produced a few snowflakes. But cool air behind the storm has kept temperatures in the mid-forties today, almost fifteen degrees below our average of sixty degrees.

A similarly cool day is forecast for Friday as a quick-hitting storm brings a cold front through our area around noon on Friday. The storm may bring some light rain showers to town through Friday afternoon and 1-4” of snow at the now-closed Steamboat Resort, with rapid clearing by Friday evening behind the storm.

Meanwhile, a strong and cold storm currently moving through the Gulf of Alaska is forecast to move through Oregon by Saturday night and the Great Basin on Sunday. A ridge of high pressure ahead of the storm will pass over the Rockies this weekend, and after a cool start to Saturday morning, high temperatures are forecast to rise into the mid-sixties for a rare pleasant weekend in this active spring weather pattern.

By Sunday, clouds and winds from the southwest are forecast to increase ahead of the approaching wintry storm, even as high temperatures stay similar to Saturday. Enjoy this break in the weather as the cold front associated with the storm is currently timed for Sunday night. And yes, that means we may wake up to snowflakes in town again on Monday morning.

Right now, the storm looks to hang around through Tuesday, but be sure to check back to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon where I’ll have more details on the next wintry blast to start the work week.

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.

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1 July 2021

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