Saturday, November 15, 2014
The storm forecast for today is winding down and is expected to end by midnight, with 8” of snow showing on the Steamboat Powder cam as of 5:30 pm this afternoon and possibly another inch or two added for the morning observation. Cold temperatures will follow in the wake of the storm, falling from the current 2 F up top and 15 F in the valley.
There may be some clouds the next 2 days as waves of energy skirt to our northeast around a very cold mid-west trough, but we should see increasingly sunny skies headed into midweek. Warmer temperatures will return by Tuesday afternoon ahead of a Pacific disturbance undercutting the west coast ridge. This is the storm originally forecast to bring significant weather to our area, but now the storm is forecast to be considerably warmer, weaker and slower. Furthermore, there is model uncertainty with respect to the strength and timing of this wave.
Models indicate some sort of storm for next weekend after a transient and shallow late-week ridge moves over the area, but the details of that forecast are in doubt considering the midweek uncertainty.
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
The forecast from last week underestimated the amount of snow received Monday from the well-advertised cold front that moved through the area that morning, with 4” on my deck by noon that day. Currently, very cold air is lurking to to our north and east, and some more of it will be dragged over our area early tomorrow morning as a wave rotates over our area from the north. Light snow is expected on the hill, and while we may see some snowflakes in the valley, current forecasts call for no further accumulations.
That changes in a big way on Thursday as a Pacific wave undercuts the strong ridge in the Gulf of Alaska and brings some upward motion and moisture in northwest flow over the current dome of cold air. Temperatures may warm a bit with a mix of rain and snow in the valley by Thursday afternoon, but significant snowfall is expected on the hill through Thursday night. If the mountain was open, I would expect 4-8” of snow on the morning report.
Continued moist northwest flow will keep the weather unsettled for Friday, though we will see more warming behind the Thursday storm. This warming will stabilize the atmosphere and likely keep the valley mostly dry with a possible rain/snow mix if showers do occur, while minimizing snowfall on the hill.
But another cold wave rotating around the cold air to our north will push another cold front through the area on Saturday. Because we are forecast to still have moist northwest flow in the mid and upper levels of the atmosphere, I expect another round of significant accumulations, with moderate to heavy snowfall up on the hill and likely in the valley as well by Saturday afternoon and lasting through Saturday night. I anticipate another 6-12” by Sunday morning if the Steamboat Ski Area was reporting.
There may be a brief break sometime on Sunday before snow is forecast to begin again by later in the day and continue overnight as waves in moist northwest flow pass over the area. Another brief break on Monday before a much stronger Pacific wave is forecast to cross the west coast and travel over our area around Tuesday. Again, the models are forecasting moderate to heavy snowfall with this wave that looks to last through at least Wednesday.
Not that we should be surprised, but it’s always amazing when the last mountain bike ride of the season on Sunday of last weekend is followed by powder skiing the next weekend!
Thursday, November 6, 2014
A mostly dry and cool forecast will dominate this next weeks weather after a beautiful weekend, except for around Monday when some light snow and a blast of seasonably cool air is forecast for our area.
Current sunny conditions will mostly last through the weekend. A weak wave skirting our northern border will drop temperatures a bit tomorrow and possibly bring some clouds before they warm again by Saturday.
Another wave crossing the northwest coast from the Pacific on late Saturday night will phase with some cold air moving southward from the Canadian Plains and force a cold front through the area on Monday. There will be some snow associated with this front as the remaining Pacific moisture is lifted over the Park Range, but most of the weather will be confined to the Front Range. Several more waves moving southward from the Canadian Plains will keep the seasonably cold air in place most if not all of the workweek, with some very light snow possible for a short time around late Wednesday.
There is uncertainty late in the workweek, and heading into next weekend, regarding whether the cold air moves eastward or is reinforced, as the American GFS has warmer weather returning by then while the European ECMWF keeps us cooler.
Thursday, October 30, 2014
A ridge of high pressure will keep our beautiful weather around until a strong Pacific storm currently bringing precipitation to the northwest affects our weather starting this weekend. Even California looks to receive significant precipitation as the storm makes landfall there late Friday night.
Southwesterly flow ahead of the storm will bring increasing moisture into our area on Saturday, though temperatures will be warm with high clouds. As the storm approaches the Great Basin on Saturday it is expected to split, making the forecast for Sunday through Tuesday a bit uncertain.
Current forecasts have a lead shortwave moving over our area early Sunday with some precipitation expected, though it will likely be light and relatively warm, with high snow levels. Cool air will filter in through the day Sunday, but most of the storm will be felt as the southern portion of the storm approaches our area later that day or evening.
The American GFS keeps this southern energy over our area during the day Monday, leading to snow and sharply colder temperatures as northwest flow is established behind the front. Snow may be moderate to heavy at times Monday, even in town, before ending that night. The European ECMWF, on the other hand, is forecasting more energy left behind in the Great Basin, and in fact closes off the storm and forms a cutoff low that moves over the U.S. - Mexico border later in the week. This solution would lead to warmer weather and less precipitation as energy passes south of us, though the unsettled conditions would be with us longer, likely through Tuesday.
In either case, a flat ridge is forecast behind the storm, leading to warmer temperatures by mid-week and lasting through at least the rest of the workweek. A storm from the Gulf of Alaska is currently forecast to stay north of us for the following weekend, though that forecast is uncertain at this time.
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Spectacular fall weather will continue through most of the weekend before a storm affects us sometime on Sunday and Monday. There is uncertainty as to whether precipitation starts early or late in the day Sunday, but the heaviest precipitation should occur through the overnight hours and early in the morning Monday as the cold air associated with the storm sweeps through the area and lowers snow levels. Most of the accumulating snow should be confined to above 9000 feet, but we may see snowflakes in town as well.
Showers will persist through the day Monday in cool and unstable northwest flow behind the departing storm. Tuesday should be pleasant after a cold morning start before there is again disagreement between the models for midweek. The American GFS model is predicting a fast-moving wave from the Pacific interacting with a wave traveling southward from the Canadian Plains and producing some precipitation late Wednesday into Thursday. The European ECMWF, on the other hand, rebuilds a ridge over the inter-mountain west, leading to dry weather. Both models, however, show some of the cool air from the north filtering over our region late in the workweek and possibly into Saturday.
Both models also have that ridge strengthening by mid-next weekend and dominating our weather into the following week, leading to more warm and dry weather.