Thursday, March 20, 2014
Interactions between waves traveling around the west side of the ever-present Hudson Bay vortex and Pacific disturbances undercutting the remnants of the west coast ridge will bring unsettled weather to our area starting tomorrow afternoon.
The first mostly dry wave brings some cooling tonight and tomorrow, but precipitation will hold off until late Friday when some more cool air in western Canada is drawn into a Pacific wave traveling over our area on Saturday. Current model trends forecast a stationary front over our area during the day, and precipitation will be focused in the vicinity of this oscillating boundary.
There is a fair bit of uncertainty to the exact location of this front, but current model guidance shows light snow starting late Friday evening and intensifying Saturday morning before tapering off late in the day. We may have an inch or so of snow Saturday morning with an additional 2-5” falling during the day, which will be reported Sunday morning.
Some dry air works into the area Sunday for a nice day, but precipitation begins again very early Monday morning as another Pacific wave drags some more cool air over our area during the day Monday. This one is currently forecast to be a bit cooler and drier, but again there is some uncertainty due to the amount of cool air injected into the system. Currently, I expect 1-4” of snow during the day.
A trailing wave passes north of our area later Monday keeping temperatures on the cool side early Tuesday before a transient ridge brings sunny weather and warming for later Tuesday and Wednesday. However, this break will be short-lived as the west coast ridge disappears allowing significant Pacific energy to move inland. This looks to be a long-lived pattern change as I see a very active spring pattern through at least the first week of April. The first storm of this pattern is currently timed for around Thursday.
Monday, March 17, 2014
Clouds have overspread our area ahead of a strong cold front expected to pass through the area later this afternoon towards sunset. This system will bring sharply colder temperatures tonight and tomorrow, and snows lasting through Wednesday morning. Additionally, northwest winds will increase later today and likely last through much of the night, though the Steamboat ski area is fairly well protected from northwest flow. I would expect 2-4” by tomorrow morning and an additional 3-6” by Wednesday morning as a trailing wave passes over our area late Tuesday to keep snows going through the night. This storm may be similar to the one last Tuesday which produced outstanding skiing during the day.
Skies should clear later Wednesday and temperatures warm as a small ridge builds over our area. This pleasant weather should last into the weekend before a grazing wave to our north brings slightly cooler temperatures and some upward forcing to the region that might sustain showers later Saturday and possibly into Sunday.
Another ridge builds into our area after the weekend for a nice few days, but it appears March will go out like a lion as additional energy from the Pacific interacts with the still present and very cold Hudson Bay vortex.
Thursday, March 13, 2014
A weak wave passes to our north today while the meandering piece of the previous storm to our south and west passes south of us tomorrow. Neither of these will significantly impact our weather, with slightly cooler temperatures today and perhaps some clouds later tonight or tomorrow.
I expect cooler temperatures and light snow most of the day Saturday as a relatively dry Pacific wave slides down the eastern side of the west coast ridge. Models have been trending further east with this wave which minimizes our snowfall; currently I expect maybe an inch for the Saturday morning report and 2-5” during the day which will be reported Sunday morning.
A cool start Sunday should give way to sunny and warm weather later in the day and lasting through noon Monday as the west coast ridge moves over our area. The American model has trended closer to the European model for a possibly significant storm starting Monday night and lasting through Tuesday.
A quick moving ridge will bring nice weather for midweek until another Pacific wave may affect us by the end of the workweek or weekend. Long term models have an unsettled period of weather commencing then and likely lasting for at least the rest of March.
Monday, March 10, 2014
After another spring-like day today, a splitting storm very similar to the one on Friday, but cooler, affects our area beginning around midnight tonight. Moderate snows are likely as the front barrels across the region very early Tuesday morning, with 2-4” expected by report time.
But the system splits around us as a wave traveling around the ever-present-for-this-winter Hudson Bay vortex drags a piece of the storm across the Continental Divide while leaving the remaining piece to meander westward to Utah and eventually Nevada. It does appear another piece of energy will keep lighter snows going until noon after which they become more showery before ending around sunset. I would expect another 2-4” during the very cool day which will be reported on the Wednesday morning report.
After a cool start Wednesday morning, a quick warm up lasting into Thursday is forecast as the west coast ridge tries to rebuild over our area. However, a Pacific wave traveling over this ridge will phase with the storm left to our south and west later Thursday forcing the complex east of the Continental Divide by Friday. Models initially had some precipitation from that Pacific wave for Friday, but current trends are pointing towards a dryer solution.
The ridge rebuilds for possibly another stellar weekend, but lots of uncertainty with the forecast for next week as more Pacific energy interacts with the west coast ridge.
Friday, March 7, 2014
The Steamboat ski area reported 2” mid / 1” top this morning, and the 11 am report had an additional 2” mid / 2.5” top. Light snow should continue today and taper off this evening as a lobe of energy passes over the area early this afternoon. I expect 3-7” to be reported by Saturday morning before skies clear.
A transient ridge then builds over our area for the weekend bringing beautiful sunny and warm spring-like weather, likely lasting through Monday. The next Pacific storm is very similar to the current one and affects our area by Tuesday. However, some cold air rotating around the persistent Hudson Bay vortex is forecast to phase with this storm around Monday creating a colder and more dynamic system. The evolution of this storm will be very dependent upon the amount of cold air entrained, and details should become clearer as we move closer to the event.
Current forecasts have light snow starting as early as Tuesday morning and intensifying during the day as the storm moves closer. This storm again splits around us by Tuesday night, but snow or snow showers are likely to continue through the day Wednesday. A break in snow will occur on Thursday before another fast moving wave is forecast to bring showers into our area by late Friday.