Monday, November 24, 2014
The forecast from last Tuesday was so good I did not need to update it! It appears that the Steamboat Ski Area started posting mid-mountain 24 hour snow totals on their website, though I am assuming (because Steamboat STILL insists on NOT including a datestamp on their observations - feel free to email them and let them know their numbers are near useless if we don’t know the time period they represent!) 8” was reported yesterday morning and 9” was reported this morning.
As you can tell from the Powdercam picture taken around 9 am this morning, there is over 2 feet of settled storm snow up top from Saturday afternoon when the current storm cycle started.
More snow will accumulate through the daylight hours today, with an enhancement increasing snowfall rates early this afternoon. Probably 5-10” of snow will be reported by tomorrow morning, though most of that has already fallen.
Snow will taper off after sunset tonight, though it may not completely stop. The last wave in this storm cycle will bring some slight warming and windy conditions starting tomorrow afternoon and lasting through midday Wednesday. Snow will increase during the day tomorrow and become moderate to heavy overnight before tapering off by Wednesday around noon, but I would expect another 5-10” for the Wednesday morning report, with another 1-4” of new snow falling by noon.
Conditions will rapidly improve later Wednesday with significant warming by Thanksgiving Day, as the forecast made by the American GFS last week verifies over the European ECMWF forecast from then. Beautiful and mostly sunny weather should persist into the weekend before a weak wave in northwest flow grazes our area on Saturday. At this point, some cooler air and clouds look to be the only impact.
Temperatures warm again heading into early next week before another strong storm is forecast to affect our area sometime around Tuesday.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Lots of weather to talk about for the upcoming week, with a couple of rounds of heavy snows likely starting later Saturday and extending into Thanksgiving week.
Currently, a weak wave to our northeast has brought cloudiness and some high elevation flurries to our area. This wave will reinforce the cold valley temperatures before they will moderate a bit by tomorrow afternoon. Concurrently, a west coast ridge will be weakened as two waves move through it; the first moves over our area on Thursday and may produce some minor accumulations Thursday night.
The second wave takes a southerly track through the desert southwest and looks to miss our area entirely. However, these waves destroy the west coast ridge and allow another and much stronger Pacific storm to cross the northwest coast late on Friday and move over our area late Saturday night or Sunday. This is forecast to begin a long-duration snowfall event that may last most of Thanksgiving week as additional waves of energy in moist and cold northwest flow move over our area.
Snow will begin ahead of the wave around Saturday afternoon and will become heavy overnight. Depending on when the snow starts Saturday, there may be as much as 5-10” of new snow on the hill by Sunday morning. Additional waves of energy will keep Sunday cold and snowy, with another 5-10” of snow by Monday morning. Snow may taper off on Monday before increasing again on Tuesday as yet another moist and cool wave in northwest flow moves over our area, likely leading to additional significant snow accumulations for Wednesday’s Scholarship Day.
By midweek, there is considerable disagreement between the models, though at this point I would side with the European ECMWF which shows another cold and snowy arctic outbreak around Thanksgiving Day.
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.