Thursday, September 3, 2015
Two waves in the current southwesterly monsoonal flow will cross the Steamboat Springs area midday today and later-afternoon tomorrow increasing the chance of showers both days. Locally heavy rain will be a possibility today and tomorrow.
The later arrival tomorrow of the second wave may allow showers to continue overnight Friday before some drier air is forecast to be over the area Saturday, reducing the chance of showers during the day. However, a strong storm currently over the Pacific Northwest coast will move eastward through the weekend, bringing a mostly dry cold front through the area early Sunday. There may be some light showers ahead of and along the front Saturday night into Sunday morning before skies clear with noticeably cooler but very pleasant temperatures.
Dry trailing waves later Sunday, Monday and Tuesday nights will keep the cool but dry weather around through midweek before warming is forecast to occur by Wednesday afternoon. There is a possibility of smoke from the Pacific Northwest wildfires being transported over our region as the flow veers from the southwest to the west-northwest next week as well, but otherwise the weather should be classic early-September beautiful.
The cool temperatures will give way to seasonably warm days with continued cool nights for the rest of the work week. Latest numerical model runs have another wave in west-northwest flow approaching the Steamboat Springs area sometime around next weekend, so the forecast for then is uncertain.
Thursday, August 27, 2015
The current storm is now just east of our area, and showers should linger through the rest of the day before clearing overnight.
The upper level flow weakens considerably behind this storm and stays weak through Saturday, interrupting the monsoonal moisture feed from the south that lead to the current storm. Incidentally, and not quite how I forecasted last week, the lingering smoke this past weekend was not purged from the area until the flow shifted from the northwest to the south this past Tuesday. We did get some brief clearing last Friday night, but smoke returned as the northwest flow moved smoke from the active wildfires to our northwest back over the area.
But the weak upper level flow is forecast to increase again Sunday from the southwest as a large storm currently off the West Coast moves eastward early in the weekend and is deflected by the persistent western ridge. This storm will drag a very weak cool front through the area later Sunday, and combined with the increasing moisture from southwest flow ahead of the storm, should contribute to a much greater chance of storms Sunday afternoon.
The increased chance of afternoon storms should be present on Monday as well, before the rebounding of the deflected western ridge dries the atmosphere a bit, leading to decreasing chances of afternoon storms each afternoon for most of the work week.
Another similar storm is forecast to be off the West Coast around midweek, and current model solutions again have the storm deflecting the western ridge and dragging a weak cool from across the region around the end of the next work week. As is forecast to happen this Sunday, the chance of afternoon showers should increase again sometime during Labor Day weekend.
Thursday, August 20, 2015
The fall-like cool fronts that pushed through our area Tuesday and Wednesday will be followed by another two similar fronts Saturday and Sunday mornings before the western ridge rebuilds. Temperatures will rebound and monsoonal moisture will return early in the next work week.
Meanwhile, our hazy smoke-filled skies will likely continue today and tomorrow before a storm currently off the Pacific Northwest coast drags a cool front over our area early in the day Saturday as it moves eastward. This will be followed by a trailing wave early Sunday morning that will reinforce the cool conditions.
Wildfires were reported around Maybell and Craig earlier in the week, and it seems likely at least some of the smoke in the Yampa Valley could be attributed to those now-contained fires. But our current northwest flow is passing over the active wildfire regions in the Pacific Northwest, and that is likely contributing to the haze as well.
The smoke should be cleared from the area by the first front Saturday morning. After the second front passes through the area on Sunday, the persistent western ridge rebuilds, bringing seasonably warm temperatures by Monday and allowing monsoonal moisture from the south to move over the area by later in the day Tuesday. This pattern will bring the chance of storms each day under warm temperatures through the following week, as has been typical for most of our summer.
Longer term, the battle between summer and fall continues as additional energy forms strong storms near the Gulf of Alaska. These storms will interact with the still-strong western ridge, with the stronger storms able to penetrate the ridge enough to interrupt the summer weather with fall-like weather.
Friday, August 14, 2015
The western ridge responsible for our persistent monsoonal weather regime this summer is forecast to break down starting tomorrow as a series of Pacific shortwaves cross north of our area this weekend. Then, the first Autumn-like front is forecast to move through the area on Tuesday, bringing windy conditions and dry air with noticeably cooler temperatures.
But first, warm days with the chance of afternoon storms bringing the possibility of locally heavy rainfall will exist for today and more so tomorrow. A storm currently off the coast of northern California will move mostly north of our area late Saturday quickly followed by another wave of cooler air early Sunday that will keep temperatures slightly cooler under possibly cloudy skies.
Concurrently, an unseasonably strong storm in the Gulf of Alaska will cross the Pacific Northwest coast by Monday and turn our winds back to the west during the day. Dry air is forecast to be near our area on Monday, and a small shift in the flow may keep the day dry or continue the chance of afternoon storms.
The American GFS has drastically changed since yesterday’s forecast, and now agrees with the European ECMWF that the mostly dry southern part of the front should pass through the area on Tuesday. Northwest winds will initially be strong on Tuesday along and behind the front, but should moderate through the week as temperatures begin to recover on Wednesday and reach near normal by Thursday.
Additional dry waves passing north of our area will keep similar conditions through the weekend, though there is uncertainty with respect to the strength of another moderately strong wave currently timed for the end of next weekend. However, with models now agreeing on some sort of Gulf of Alaska ridge building around then and keeping the western trough intact, dry and cool conditions will likely persist.
Thursday, August 13, 2015
Our weather for the next week looks to begin with the persistent summer monsoon having upper-level flow generally from the south or southwest around a Great Basin ridge. The week will end with a series of cool fronts that veer the flow to the west.
The weather through Saturday should be typical of the summer with warm days and the chance for afternoon storms. A storm currently off the coast of northern California will move mostly north of our area late Saturday quickly followed by another wave of cooler air early Sunday that will keep temperatures cooler than normal on Sunday. Additionally, these weak fronts will flatten the Great Basin ridge and may invigorate our typical afternoon storms for the weekend.
Concurrently, a seasonably strong storm moving southward this weekend along the West Coast from the Gulf of Alaska will turn our winds back to the southwest by Monday, warming temperatures to normal and continuing the chance of afternoon storms.
As this storm crosses the coast and begins to move eastward across the Great Basin on Tuesday, significantly drier air will move into the area by Tuesday or Wednesday, followed by a mostly dry frontal passage Thursday or Friday. This storm should lead to noticeably cooler temperatures by the end of the work week, and these cool temperatures will be reinforced by next weekend as another Pacific Northwest wave moves over the region.
There is considerable model uncertainty for next weekend and after that as the American GFS forecasts a building ridge in the Gulf of Alaska while the European ECMWF shows much less, if any, ridging. Incidentally, the Gulf of Alaska ridge is a typical feature of an El Nino event, and I’ve found that while the American GFS may be early in predicting pattern changes, the model often is correct in forecasting an eventual pattern change. It will be interesting to see how that forecast evolves over the next few weeks.