Wet weather turning much colder for the next week

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The current sunny conditions will end by tomorrow as a quick moving wave skirts our northern border Friday, creating some light snow at the Steamboat ski area with perhaps several inches of accumulating snow during Friday.

Following closely is a wet and relatively warm Pacific jet stream that will begin precipitation Friday night. Because temperatures are forecast to warm through noon or afternoon Saturday, there may be rain in the valleys before the cool air associated with this storm sags south over northern Colorado by later Saturday. There is disagreement in the models about how much warming occurs during the day Saturday, and this will affect how much snow we see during the day, with 2-5” of relatively dense snow likely.

Cooler air Saturday night will lead to moderate and sometimes heavy snow overnight, leaving 6-12” of snow for the Sunday morning ski report.

Snow looks to taper off during the day Sunday as brief and shallow ridging moves over the area ahead of a large, complex and potentially dangerous storm crossing the West Coast on Sunday. This storm will intensify as it crosses the Great Basin as very cold air from the Canadian Plains mixes with the relatively warm and wet overrunning Pacific jet stream.

The dynamic nature of this storm makes forecasting difficult, but current models bring light snow over our area by early Monday morning before turning moderate to heavy by later Monday. As the storm moves somewhere along the southern Colorado border on Monday, moderate to heavy snows may continue for our area as a TROWAL is indicated to form and persist overnight. Additionally, very cold air will move southward along the west side of the storm as it moves east of our area, possibly creating a huge powder day for Tuesday.

Additional waves of energy and cold air move over the area in northwest flow later Tuesday and Wednesday, keeping snows going through possibly Thursday morning.

Snows stop for a few days when this storm cycle ends early Thursday

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

We currently have heavy snow in Steamboat Springs as the last storm of this storm cycle passes over the area today and tonight. Intermittent moderate to heavy snows are expected today and tonight with breaks between the showers. Though the amount of water in the snow is forecast to diminish overnight, temperatures will drop and decrease the density of the snowfall, leaving 5-10” on the hill by tomorrow morning, with less in the valleys.

Snow will hold on longest tomorrow on Mount Werner before the sun makes an appearance. Temperatures will be quite cold overnight Thursday and into Friday morning under clear skies as temperature inversions reform in the wake of all the new snow and colder airmass.

A transient ridge moves over the area by Friday, noticeably warming temperatures at the higher elevations while the valleys stay cool after a cold morning start. Temperatures should stay warm on the hill for Saturday as the valleys warm further.

Another complex Pacific storm is forecast to cross the West Coast early in the weekend and will affect our weather by Saturday night or Sunday morning, creating moderate to sometimes heavy snows for Sunday. This storm is forecast to drag down some more cold air from the Canadian Plains, keeping lighter intensity but lower density snow around for Monday.

Tuesday is currently looking to be precipitation-free before a weak grazing wave in northwest flow may produce some snow for Wednesday. Models indicate a break before a major storm may impact the last weekend of January.

Stormy pattern returns tomorrow

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The dry weather the past few days that led to the very cold valley temperatures will end tomorrow as a quick-moving storm from the Pacific Northwest moves over the Steamboat Springs area. Ironically, the approach of the cold front will warm the surface and eliminate the current temperature inversion by increasing surface winds tonight and mixing the stagnant airmass. Periods of light to sometimes moderate snow start during the day tomorrow and continue overnight, leaving 2-5” for the Friday morning report.

Snows will diminish and perhaps even end very early Friday morning before a similar but stronger storm moves over our area later in the morning. Snowfall rates will be moderate to sometimes heavy during the afternoon Friday as this storm drags some cold air from the Canadian Plains southwards. A substantial part of the 5-10” I expect to be reported Saturday morning will occur Friday afternoon.

Snowfall will decrease during the day Saturday before increasing again early Sunday as a trailing wave drags a reinforcing surge of cold air over the area. Snowfall should diminish again during the afternoon and likely end by sunset, so the bulk of the snow I expect for the Monday report should occur Sunday morning.

Temperatures should warm on Monday as a transient ridge tries to build to our west, but the warming will be short-lived as another Pacific storm moves through the ridge and begins a round of light to sometimes moderate snows Monday night.

Snowfall is currently forecast to end around Tuesday before possibly the strongest storm in this series threatens significant snows starting around Wednesday. The forecast for then is uncertain with so much weather occurring over the next week, however.

Light snow returns tonight ahead of cool and unsettled weekend

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Storms to the south of the Steamboat Springs area have helped eliminate the cold valley temperature inversion we experienced last week into this week as overnight clouds last night have kept the lower elevations relatively warm. A storm currently producing moderate snows in southern Colorado will begin light snow over our area around midnight tonight even as it stays south of our area and moves eastward.

Models indicate a weak TROWAL signature for this storm from about midnight through noon or even afternoon Thursday, and the upward motion associated with this feature is a bit of a wildcard for tomorrow’s snow forecast. With that being said, I would expect around 2-4” for the morning report with the possibility of another 2-4” tomorrow morning if there is indeed enhanced snowfall in the northwest quadrant of the storm due to the TROWAL. There may even be another several inches after noon if the latest bullish forecast from the American NAM model verifies as that model now hangs on to snowfall through Thursday evening.

Another storm further to our south quickly follows on Friday. Current models have this storm too far south to bring significant snows to our area, but a trailing wave phases with some cold air from the Canadian Plains and drags it over our area around Friday night, noticeably cooling temperatures and increasing a moist northwest flow that persists through the weekend.

There should be light to sometimes moderate snow for the entire weekend in this favorable flow as models don’t have the precipitation ending until Monday morning. I would expect around 2-5” of low-density snowfall each day, with only very light snowfall after sunset Sunday.

Monday should be mostly precipitation-free before models indicate some sort of storm moving through the West Coast ridge and possibly affecting our area around Tuesday or Wednesday. There is a great deal of uncertainty with regards to how the West Coast ridge evolves as it is affected by both Pacific energy to its west and very cold air from the Canadian Plains to its east.

Cold valleys and warmer mountains persist through the weekend

Thursday, December 31, 2015

The valley temperature as of 1pm has warmed from a low of -23F to 6F while the summit of Mount Werner has warmed from a low of -7F to 13F under sunny skies. A dry grazing wave mostly north and east of us will drag some more cold air over the Steamboat Springs area later tonight, continuing the below -20F low temperatures for the valley into New Years Day and the day after. Meanwhile, a portion of the West Coast ridge bends over the area, noticeably increasing mountain temperatures by Saturday.

The mountains will warm further through the weekend and into the next work week before a Pacific storm makes landfall in Southern California early Monday, backing our winds to the southwest and likely mixing out the cold valley inversion either during the day Monday or Tuesday.

There may be some light showers by Tuesday afternoon as the weakened storm moves mostly south of our area, but it appears accumulations may be minimal. Another stronger storm follows closely behind, but current forecasts have this storm staying south of our area at the end of the work week as well.

Uncertainty increases by the weekend as the American GFS has another Pacific storm undercutting the West Coast ridge and perhaps phasing with some cold Canadian air while the European ECMWF keeps the weekend storm offshore and the cold Canadian air to our north.

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23 February 2021

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