Small storm Tuesday followed by larger storm Wednesday

Sunday, December 9, 2018

A cool front that passed through the Steamboat Springs area early this Sunday morning has kept snow showers going, but we should see the sun make an appearance by this afternoon, especially in the Yampa Valley as dry air overspreads northern Colorado. Additional storms are lined up for Tuesday and again Wednesday into Thursday morning as Pacific moisture and energy from the Gulf of Alaska move over the west.

While the moisture will be slow to erode today, Monday should be a gorgeous day with plenty of sunshine and temperatures above our 29 F average high and 7 F average low.

Snow showers should get going again on Tuesday in advance of a weak wave that crosses the West Coast on Monday. The wave will split to some degree, though weather forecast models still disagree on the details. We could see 1-4” of snow at mid-mountain if the wave splits more, or 3-6” if the wave splits less, by the Wednesday morning report, with most of the snow falling before midnight.

Only a small break between storms is advertised as the next colder, stronger and more consolidated storm begins another round of snow showers for our area as early as Wednesday morning. Winds will increase from our favorable northwest direction, with a burst of moderate to heavy snowfall when the cold front passes around Wednesday afternoon, and continued light to moderate snowfall in the cold, moist and unstable northwest flow overnight. The storm looks quite promising but will be quick moving; I currently expect 5-10” of snow at mid-mountain by the Thursday morning report.

Any snow showers still around on a chilly Thursday morning should end by noon, followed by periods of sun, especially in the Yampa Valley, behind the departing storm.

Another break in the weather occurs around Friday, though it is not clear how long this lasts as weather forecast models disagree on the strength of another Pacific wave timed for around the weekend. The European ECMWF has trended towards a stronger storm moving over our area while the American GFS has a much weaker storm grazing our area.

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Unsettled weather ending by the weekend for a short time

Thursday, December 6, 2018

A storm currently affecting the southwestern U.S. this Thursday afternoon has also produced some intermittent snow showers over the Steamboat Springs area the past few days. These are expected to continue through tonight and into Friday morning with only an inch or two of additional snow expected before drying grudgingly occurs over northern Colorado later Friday and heading into the weekend. The sun will then return for several days before we see increasing chances for snow starting around later Tuesday.

Some cool air from the northern latitudes is forecast to brush northern Colorado early Saturday and Sunday and may combine with trapped moisture on Saturday to produce some clouds and possibly an isolated snow shower.

The moisture is forecast to be mostly gone by Sunday for a nice day before a transient ridge moves over the west early in the work week, bringing the sunniest day on Monday with notable higher-elevation warming. Temperatures in the Yampa Valley are expected to be seasonable near our average low of 7 F and average high of 30 F.

Our next weather maker is advertised for later Tuesday when a storm from the Gulf of Alaska splits as it crosses the West Coast on Monday. The forecast is uncertain as it is not clear how much energy is partitioned into the northern and southern ends of the split, but some amount of energy will cross northern Colorado starting around Tuesday afternoon and lasting through Tuesday night.

A deeper and possibly much colder trailing wave is forecast for later Wednesday into Thursday that will likely produce more snow than the preceding wave, though amounts for both systems are quite uncertain at this time. Drier and eventually warmer weather is currently forecast heading into the following weekend.

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Snow chances for Monday and Wednesday through Friday

Sunday, December 2, 2018

This cold and sunny Sunday morning over Steamboat Springs will yield first to clouds later today and then snow showers starting later tonight and lasting through Monday night. A break in the weather is forecast for Tuesday before unsettled weather returns Wednesday through Friday followed by warming and drying for next weekend.

A cold and deep trough of low pressure currently sits over the northern two thirds of the U.S while a ridge of high pressure lies just off the West Coast. Even though we will see plenty of sun today, high temperatures will stay well below our average high of 31 F before clouds overspread the area later today. Light snow showers should start by early Monday morning and continue through the day and overnight as energy and moisture move through the expansive low pressure area. There won’t be much moisture, but the snow will be low-density and fluffy, leaving 2-5” for the Tuesday morning report.

Meanwhile, another Pacific storm approaches the West Coast ridge and splits, with some energy riding over the top of the ridge and some diving underneath, forming a closed low pressure system that stalls off the West Coast for a few days.

The energy traveling over the top of the ridge will force the Monday snow showers out of our area with a sunny and cool day forecast for Tuesday.

By Wednesday, the northern part of the storm will have mixed with some cold air from the Canadian Plains while the southern part of the storm approaches the southern California coast. Current weather forecast model trends brings a warm front associated with the southern part of the storm over our area on Wednesday which will start snow showers that may be enhanced overnight as the northern part of the storm swings through our area.

By Thursday, the southern storm is expected to make landfall, and southwest flow ahead of the storm will continue clouds and precipitation chances over northern Colorado that continue into Friday, though the best activity will stay to our south.

Though the weather forecast models predict only several inches of snow each day between Wednesday and Friday, precipitation may be focused along the front separating the cold air to our north and the warmer air to our southwest. This may produce more precipitation at times than is currently expected for each of those days.

Warming and drying are expected to begin the following weekend and last through the early part of the next work week before a strong Pacific storm follows for more snow chances starting around midweek.

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Next storm for later Friday into Saturday followed by cold temperatures

Thursday, November 29, 2018

After the 7” reported at mid-mountain at the Steamboat Ski Area this morning, and 8” up top, the Steamboat Springs area will see a brief break in the weather ahead of our next storm which is currently pounding the Sierras with snowfall.

The Sierra storm will move through the Great Basin on Friday, and ahead of it we will see some clearing this Thursday afternoon as relatively warm southwest flow ahead of the storm first brings some drying, followed by a slug of moisture that may produce minor snowfall accumulations around sunset and into the evening.

Though the storm is not very cold, we will see a cool front pass through northern Colorado around midday Friday which will swing the winds towards our favorable northwest direction and produce moderate snowfall rates for a time. Lighter snowfall looks to continue overnight and into Saturday before tapering off late in the day. I would expect 4-8” of snow to be reported by Saturday morning, with some Steamboat Magic occurring between report time and ski time for bonus accumulations.

This storm is pushed eastward by another storm that is currently in the Gulf of Alaska but is forecast to be entering the Great Basin early in the weekend. This one has far colder air but far less moisture, so look for a cooler and mostly dry Sunday followed by an unseasonably cold Monday morning with low temperatures ten or fifteen degrees below our 10 F average.

Yet another Pacific storm is forecast to loiter off the California coast early in the work week, and our area will be sandwiched between the cold air associated with the light northwest flow from the former Gulf of Alaska storm and the much warmer air associated with the southwest flow ahead of the new Pacific storm.

Our weather will depend on the which airmass is over our area; currently the cold air is forecast to be in place through Tuesday, with some snow showers through the day Monday, especially in the afternoon, producing several inches of fluffy low-density snowfall.

There looks to be no more accumulations during a still-cool Tuesday.

A warm front ahead of the finally-moving-eastward Pacific storm may bring some light snow showers to the central and northern mountains around Tuesday night into early Wednesday, though accumulations should be quite light for our area.

The Pacific storm is forecast to be in the vicinity of the Great Basin after midweek, and even though the heaviest accumulations look to stay south of our area, we will have a good chance of accumulating snows as this storm moves past. Timing is subject to change, but right now we could see a period of good snowfall from Thursday night through Friday night before a ridge of high pressure temporarily builds over the west for the following weekend.

Several days of sun followed by another round of unsettled weather

Sunday, November 25, 2018

A ridge of high pressure currently over the West Coast will move over the Rockies by Tuesday and bring clearing skies over the Steamboat Springs area starting this Sunday afternoon through Tuesday. The weather then turns unsettled around midweek and likely stormy near the end of the work week and into next weekend as incoming Pacific energy once again impacts the West.

The light and fluffy snow currently falling in Steamboat Springs should end this morning as drier air enters the area, bringing periods of sun by this afternoon, especially in the valley. Seasonably cool temperatures below our average high of 35 F and average low of 12 F will persist today and Monday as a couple of waves of cool dry air from the Canadian Plains slides southward along the east side of the ridge of high pressure currently to our west.

Tuesday will be likely be the nicest day of the week as the ridge of high pressure moves directly overhead. But incoming Pacific energy keeps the ridge moving eastward, and there will be an increase in clouds by Wednesday with perhaps some sparse snow showers ahead of the next storm cycle.

Several waves of Pacific energy will bring stormier weather back to the West starting around Thursday. There is considerable uncertainty in the weather forecast models with respect to the timing and strength of these waves, but current trends indicate a good chance for accumulating snows on Thursday, and after a short break, Friday into Saturday. The forecast for the early weekend storm is a bit of a wildcard, as it is not clear if the storm will move quickly through our area or move more slowly to our south, and this will greatly affect our snowfall totals.

Another storm may follow later in the weekend, according to the American GFS, or be shunted to our north, according to the European ECMWF. The cause of disagreement is related to a ridge of high pressure that is forecast to build in the Gulf of Alaska early in the weekend, and the strength and areal extent of this ridge will affect how Pacific energy is partitioned as it encounters this atmospheric obstacle. In fact, the evolution of the Friday/Saturday storm will also depend upon how this ridge develops.

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21 June 2019

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