Quintessential Colorado fall weekend ahead

Thursday, September 21, 2023

The cloudy morning skies have cleared this Thursday mid afternoon in Steamboat Springs with temperatures right around seventy degrees along with breezy winds from the southwest. The breezes will continue on Friday ahead of a mostly dry cold front later in the day that will bring sub freezing low temperatures to the Yampa Valley floor this weekend. But sunny skies will prevail and after a noticeably cool Saturday, which is entirely appropriate for the first day of fall, high temperatures will warm for Sunday and the following work week.

An eddy of low pressure currently located over the Oregon and Nevada borders is forecast to travel though Idaho tomorrow and Wyoming on Saturday. An older eddy of low pressure that was off the California coast earlier in the week has slingshot around the Oregon eddy and moved overhead this morning, bringing the cloudy skies and gusty winds.

The skies have cleared behind that piece of energy, and as the Oregon eddy moves eastward, a dry cold front will be dragged through our area late Friday afternoon or evening. The temperatures are cold enough for snow around and above mid mountain, but the best yet still meager moisture is located to our north, which is where the best chance for snowflakes will occur above elevations of 8000′.

Clouds associated with and behind the front are forecast to clear by Saturday morning, starting the first day of fall with likely sub freezing temperatures as the autumnal equinox occurs at 12:50 am Saturday. The equinox occurs when the sun moves southward across the equator and marks the astronomical beginning of the fall season. It is also when our amount of daylight is decreasing most rapidly, and we are currently losing two minutes and thirty nine seconds of that a day, though that pace will gradually decrease through the winter solstice in December.

Despite sunny skies, high temperatures should only rise to the low sixties on Saturday, almost ten degrees below our average of 71 F. Another similarly cold Sunday morning follows with low temperatures around five degrees below our average of 33 F, and perhaps more than that in the favored low lying areas around the river drainages.

But a building ridge of high pressure brings continued sunny skies and warming temperatures back toward average on Sunday and even the mid seventies for the start of the work week. So enjoy what will be a quintessential Colorado fall weekend as the colors have started to appear, and check back to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon where I’ll look at how long this beautiful weather will last.

Modest shower chances return ahead of Friday cold front

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Another spectacular late summer day is over the Steamboat Springs area this early Sunday afternoon with temperatures in the low seventies under mostly sunny skies. Some meager mosiure passing overhead will lead to some shower chances on Monday night and Tuesday afternoon and evening ahead of a mostly dry cold front for the end of the work week that will bring winds to our area starting Thursday.

A ridge of high pressure is currently over the Rocky Mountains while an eddy of low pressure spins off the California coast. As a storm now in the Gulf of Alaska moves eastward early in the work week, some moisture from the eddy will be dragged toward Colorado on Monday, and though the best precipitation has shifted south in the latest weather forecast models, we should see a chance for some light showers on Monday night and again Tuesday afternoon and evening.

Meanwhile a storm currently over the Aleutian Islands is forecast to quickly move through the Gulf of Alaska while mixing with some cold air from Alaska before approaching the Vancouver coast later Tuesday and moving south. By midweek, the storm should be over Oregon which will allow the California eddy to slingshot around first its southern end and then its eastern side.

Look for increasing winds on Thursday as what remains of the eddy moves quickly northeast through the Great Basin and grazes our area. The main storm then takes an eastward track through the Great Basin later Thursday and brings a mostly dry cold front to our area on Friday, along with continued breezy to windy conditions that may persist through a dry Saturday.

At one point last week, the storm was forecast to bring a chance of our first accumulating snow at the Steamboat Resort, but now it looks like only some sparse flakes are possible along and behind the front on Friday and Friday night.

There is a lot of uncertainty in the end of week forecast, with a high temperature range on Friday forecast between the low fifties and our average in the low seventies, so there may still be significant changes in the forecast by my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon.

Gorgeous weather ahead

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Temperatures are only around sixty degrees under cloudy skies this Thursday mid afternoon in Steamboat Springs after a cold front with showers rolled through town around noon. There are several hours of some clearing behind the front, after which we may see some more showers redevelop through early this evening. There may still be a shower on a slightly warmer Friday, but plenty of sun with temperatures in the low seventies follows for our weekend.

A wave of low pressure extending from the Canadian Plains through the southern Rockies has moved through our area today along with a cold front and some showers around noon. Though the northern part of the wave will scoot eastward, some energy hangs back over Colorado through Friday, keeping high temperatures in the upper sixties, around five degrees below our average of 74 F. There may be some showers, though right now short term models have precipitation mostly staying to our south as drier air behind the front begins to invade the area.

The dry air behind the front is firmly entrenched over Colorado for the weekend as a ridge of high pressure moves overhead. That means gorgeous early fall like weather with mostly sunny skies and high temperatures right around average.

Enough moisture may stick around through Saturday morning to prevent temperatures from dipping low enough for frost, and if that is the case, some fog is possible early Saturday morning, which may also occur Friday morning in low lying areas.

The beautiful weekend weather looks to stick around into the beginning of the next work week, though a weather system is forecast to approach our area after midweek. So enjoy the weekend, and be sure to check back to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon to learn the details of our next possible weather maker.

Good shower chances starting midweek

Sunday, September 10, 2023

After a few raindrops fell mid morning in Steamboat Springs, skies are a mix of sun and clouds with temperatures in the low seventies early this Sunday afternoon. After some sun this afternoon, modest chances for light showers return for this evening and overnight ahead of a dry Monday. Shower chances begin increasing by later Tuesday with good chances of wetting rains starting Wednesday and lasting into Friday.

Currently, one broad area of low pressure extends from the Gulf of Alaska westward across the Bering Sea while another area extends southward from Hudson Bay southward across the Great Lakes. Additionally, former eastern Pacific hurricane Jova has weakened into a tropical storm and is located well of the coast of Baja.

Weak winds generally from the west are currently traversing the central Rockies, and have brought some moisture from Jova overhead. The moisture is forecast to hang around through tonight, bringing modest chances of light showers for later this afternoon and overnight. The winds from the west will also keep a more seasonable air mass overhead than this past week, with high temperatures today near our average of 75 F and falling a degree or two on a likely dry Monday.

But a wave of energy and moisture traveling through the low pressure area across the Gulf of Alaska from the Bering Sea is forecast to make landfall over the Pacific Northwest coast Tuesday night and move through our area later Thursday.

So look for some shower chances to possibly return as soon as later Tuesday as energy ahead of the main wave moves overhead, perhaps enhanced by mixing with some moisture that is left from Jova. There is weather forecast model disagreement on whether this moisture makes it far enough north for shower chances, though in any case high temperatures look to again reach the low seventies after a sunny start to the day.

Good chances for wetting rains start Wednesday afternoon and last into Friday afternoon, with the heaviest showers forecast for Thursday as the main wave moves overhead. High temperatures will fall into the upper sixties for all three days, and there may even be some snowflakes in the air at the top of the Steamboat Ski Resort Friday morning as low temperatures there fall into the thirties.

Weather forecast models have a ridge of high pressure building over the West behind the departing wave bringing dry weather and eventual warming temperatures through next weekend. Enjoy the dose of changeable fall-like weather this work week, and be sure to check back for my next regulalry scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon for more details on the weekend weather.

Showers chances return for Sunday

Thursday, September 7, 2023

Temperatures are in the mid-seventies with nary a cloud in the sky early this Thursday afternoon in Steamboat Springs. After another couple of days of similarly gorgeous weather, shower chances return on Sunday as a weak cool front grazes our area.

Movie of fog first encroaching then lifting over Steamboat Springs on 5 September 2023This past weekend saw our first storm from the northwest this season along with a cold front that blasted through our area Monday morning around 10 am followed by a day of showers starting at noon. I’ve included a time lapse of the view from Thunderhead between 6:20 am and 11:40 am Tuesday morning that shows the low clouds and fog encroaching on the town of Steamboat Springs as cool air rushed down the Elk River drainage before receding and lifting and eventually turning into some shallow fair weather cumulus clouds as the sun heated the valley floor.

Currently, a fairly flat ridge of high pressure is centered over the Rockies while a weak storm is located off the Pacific Northwest coast and a strong storm is located over Alaska. The Pacific northwest storm is forecast to move across Montana on Friday and mix with some cool air from the northern latitudes on Saturday. Additionally, some Pacific energy and moisture is forecast to pass south of the Alaska storm today and eventually move over our area on Sunday while mixing with some of that cool air to our northeast.

Before any of that cool air makes it to our area as early as noon on Sunday, look for another couple of gorgeous days of weather Friday and Saturday similar to today, but a bit warmer with high temperatures around eighty degrees, about five degrees above our average of 76 F.

But shower chances will appear on Sunday as the weak cool from grazes our area, perhaps as early as noon and lasting into the evening. However, these showers and the cool front will be nothing like what occurred last Monday, with showers being far lighter and more scattered and high temperatures falling to the low seventies.

These cooler temperatures look to stick around into the next work week along with a mix of sun and clouds as weak waves of Pacific energy and moisture continue to move overhead from the northwest. Weather forecast models disagree on what follows for the rest of the work week with the European ECMWF reintroducing some showery weather around midweek while the American GFS keeps us dry.

So enjoy the spectacular start to the weekend, and be sure to check back to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon to see what weather we may see next week.

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1 April 2018

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