Persistent snows today through tomorrow and again through the next work week

Friday, December 11, 2015

There are now about 5” of snow at the top of the Steamboat Ski area with about 3.5” on my deck. Most of that fell between 5 am and 9 am this morning, leading to average snowfall rates of over an inch per hour up top for our first dose of Steamboat Magic this morning.

The cool air came in a bit quicker than I forecast on Wednesday, and the storm has slowed considerably as well, placing Steamboat Springs very close to the almost stationary frontal boundary. Additional waves look to eject from the parent system over the Great Basin today and tonight, keeping the snowfall going overnight as they move over this front.

Considering that snowfall is forecast to become moderate to heavy at times around mid-evening to midnight tonight for several hours, I would now expect 8-14 inches to be reported in the Saturday morning report. Another 3-6” will likely fall during the day tomorrow and be reported Sunday morning as there is now evidence of moist and cool northwest flow around the parent low as it forms a closed circulation to our south.

Snows will decrease or may even stop Saturday night into Sunday night before another similar storm begins snowfall over the Steamboat Springs area by Monday morning. I expect moderate to heavy snows by Monday afternoon and continuing overnight as the coldest air of the season pours into the area, leaving 6-12” on the Tuesday morning report.

Snows will continue in the cold and moist northwest flow Tuesday and Wednesday with additional accumulations before a trailing wave in the northwest flow increases very low-density snowfall by Wednesday night. The atmosphere is expected to stabilize by Thursday afternoon as it warms, ending this storm cycle and ushering in a drier and much warmer couple of days for Friday and Saturday.

Another dynamic storm is forecast for late in the weekend or early the following work week, though there is now considerable model disagreement as the European ECMWF closes off the storm in southern California by Monday while the American GFS has it moving over our area by Monday morning.

Cold and snowy pattern starts Friday

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

After a weak wave passed through the Steamboat Springs area this morning, snow showers will end later today before some warming and drying is observed tomorrow. Another weak wave skirts our area early Thursday, likely leading to similar weather that we have today.

As this wave moves east of our area, a strong Pacific jet stream impacts the West Coast on Thursday and incorporates some cold air from the Gulf of Alaska. This storm is forecast to be a significant weather maker as it moves first southward along the coast and then eastward into the Great Basin. Winds will back to the southwest and increase again during the day Thursday as the storm approaches the area.

Pieces of energy are forecast to eject form the storm as early as Friday morning, bringing precipitation to Steamboat Springs during the day Friday. Temperatures will be mild ahead of the storm until the cold front passes sometime on Friday, leading to the possibility of rain or mixed precipitation at the lower elevations until colder air filters into the region.

Snows will increase during the day Friday, likely becoming moderate or heavy at times around Friday afternoon. Mountain-top winds stay southwesterly during this part of the storm, limiting the snowfall to be reported Saturday morning to 3-6”.

Cold air will pour into Colorado during the day Saturday as the storm moves over the area, keeping snow showers with light accumulations going through the day. But snows should pick up again by Saturday night as the winds finally turn to our favored northwest directions and a weak wave moves over the area early in the day on Sunday, leaving 1-4” for the Sunday morning report.

Warming behind this wave will limit snowfall later in the day Sunday and into Monday morning before another storm, very similar to Friday, approaches the area and increases snowfall by Monday afternoon. Again, there may be mixed precipitation late Sunday or early Monday before another wave of even colder air is forecast to wash over the area. Winds look to turn northwesterly by Monday night, and cold temperatures with moderate to sometimes heavy snow are forecast to occur overnight and through the day Tuesday.

Models indicate the possibility of another wave in northwest flow around Wednesday, with snow forecast to briefly increase again into Thursday morning. There may be a break in the snowfall near the end of next week before additional storms may threaten the area around the next weekend.

Passing waves timed for Saturday, Monday and Tuesday

Thursday, December 3, 2015

The current warm and sunny conditions will last through tomorrow for the Steamboat Springs area before a quick-moving and moisture-starved storm crosses Colorado on Saturday. I expect only light snow during the day Saturday as the storm brings cooler temperatures, with a storm total of only an inch or two to be reported Sunday morning.

A weaker and drier wave moves across the area on Monday with no precipitation expected, though we have a better chance for light snow on Tuesday as another wave moves over the area.

The active Pacific jet stream continues as a series of waves are forecast to affect the area starting as soon as Thursday. Only light snow showers are forecast with the leading wave around Thursday, but a much colder and wetter wave is timed for the weekend.

There is model uncertainty on what happens behind this weekend storm, with the American GFS moving several waves of likely significant snow through the area until about Tuesday, while the European ECMWF keeps the storm more coherent. While the details are subject to change, confidence in a pattern change to colder and snowier weather around next weekend is increasing.

Mostly light snow increases again tonight through tomorrow night

Sunday, November 29, 2015

The wobbly and slow-moving storm in the Great Basin is beginning to move eastward today, increasing the chances of snow tonight through the day tomorrow and likely through Monday night as well. Though cold temperatures will be observed as the storm moves over the Steamboat Springs area Monday, winds don’t turn to the northwest until midday tomorrow, limiting overall snowfall as moisture decreases behind the departing storm.

I would expect the standard-for-this-Thanksgiving-weekend 1-4” to be reported tomorrow morning and another 3-6” to be reported Tuesday morning, with most of that falling during the day and early evening Monday. Temperatures will stay cold through Tuesday, before some warming will be observed at the higher elevations by midweek, while the valley stays cool as the standard temperature inversions form.

Temperatures will likely be warmest around the end of the work week as southwesterly winds increase and possibly mix out the valley inversions before another weak and splitting storm is forecast to affect our area by early in the weekend. At this time, only light snow is forecast for a short period of time around Saturday before the storm is past.

There is model disagreement early in the following work week, with the American GFS predicting a weaker, drier and faster moving storm than the European ECMWF.

Thanksgiving storm fizzles with better chance of snows later Sunday through Monday

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The chances for snowfall Thursday and possibly Friday look good, though models have trended significantly weaker with the storm for the Steamboat Springs area. The storm is currently located along the Oregon coast, and is forecast to move first southward and then eastward before stalling in the western Great Basin by Thursday. A couple of lobes of energy look to be ejected near our area on Thanksgiving day and again Friday, and though light snow may possibly be falling until Friday night or Saturday morning, the amounts look to be confined to around 1-3” for each day.

A break in the weather is forecast by later Saturday into early Sunday before a Pacific wave moves through the southern portion of the Great Basin low and moves over our area later Sunday. Though precipitation should increase by Sunday afternoon, temperatures will warm as the southwesterly flow increases. This wave does force the Great Basin storm to begin moving eastward though, and I expect the best snows to occur after the storm moves over the area and cool and moist northwest flow is established by early Monday.

Colder air is forecast for later Monday, but moisture begins to decrease as the coldest air arrives, likely limiting snowfall by Monday afternoon and ending it by Monday night. Tuesday will start off chilly, and dry weather with warming temperatures should be noted for midweek as a shallow and transitory ridge moves over the area.

There is a chance for a storm near the end of the work week or next weekend, but confidence is low due to the uncertainty related to the movement of the Great Basin low early in the forecast period.

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8 March 2018

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