Thursday, February 13, 2014
The Steamboat ski area reported 3” at mid / summit this morning, and their 11am update reported an additional 1” mid / 2” summit. A couple of embedded waves in moist northwest flow pass by the area tonight and again later Friday into Saturday morning, keeping snow going through Saturday. Another fast moving wave passes over the area Sunday night increasing snowfall again before the sun reappears later Monday.
I really don’t have many changes to the previous forecast other than expecting more snow from the Sunday night wave. About 6-12” of snow are expected by tomorrow morning with tonight’s wave as there is some cool air associated with it. Snows decrease early in the day and temperatures warm, however, snow should increase later in the day as the second and weaker wave grazes our area that evening into Saturday morning. I expect another 4-8” for the Saturday morning report as very light snow or snow showers continues through the much of the day.
Snows will lighten and may end, or not, late Saturday or early Sunday before the last fast moving wave in this storm cycle affects our area by late in the day Sunday. This is a compact and fast moving system that will likely leave 4-8” on hill for the Monday morning report.
We should have a beautiful couple of days with seasonably warm temperatures early in the workweek before a grazing wave passes near our area midweek. The model trends have been weakening this storm, and the current forecast for precipitation is uncertain.
A cold and significant trough is forecast by several models to enter the west coast later in the workweek. This may begin affecting our weather by the end of the workweek as the flow backs to the southwest ahead of the storm, and a cold and snowy weekend may be in our future as the trough is currently forecast to move over our area around then.
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Snow showers are currently ongoing up on the hill, though accumulations are very light. A moist wave in northwest flow increase the intensity a bit this evening, but only 1-4” are expected by Wednesday morning. However, another long-duration event is forecast to begin later in the day and will keep snows going through the early part of the weekend.
Snow showers will give way to more persistent snows in the afternoon or early evening tomorrow as another surge of moisture is carried over our area in generally northwest by the very moist polar jet stream. Temperatures are again expected to be warm, especially before atmospheric cooling increases early Thursday. I would expect 2-6” by Thursday morning, but periods of moderate to heavy snow during the day and night as an embedded wave approaches Thursday and passes through the area by early Friday. About 6-12” of snow are expected by Friday morning before snows decrease early in the day. However, they will ramp up again later in the day as yet another wave grazes our area that evening.
We may receive another 4-8” by Saturday morning at which point a transient ridge moves overhead, perhaps even revealing some sun. A very fast moving wave may again yield some snow showers by Sunday, but accumulation are expected to be light.
We should have a beautiful couple of days early in the workweek before another approaching storm makes landfall along the west coast around the middle of the week. This storm will be different than the previous two as southwest flow develops ahead of this digging system. Lot of uncertainty with this storm, but it may significantly affect our weather near the end of the workweek.
Sunday, February 9, 2014
Temperatures have warmed as forecast, and I had 3” of wet and heavy snow on my deck this morning, though most of that fell last evening before midnight. The Steamboat ski area reported 7” mid / 6” top at 5am, with 4” of that coming yesterday. As of 11am, only an additional 1” was reported at mid mountain, though some sort of light precipitation is still falling on the hill.
As I mentioned in the last forecast blog, I still don’t expect better quality snow until tonight when the atmosphere finally sees some cooling ahead of a well defined wave that passes over the area on Monday. There is not a lot of cool air associated with this wave, and temperatures are again expected to oscillate around the its arrival, but I would expect 4-8” to be reported by Monday morning with an additional 4-8” by Tuesday morning, with most of that occurring during the day Monday.
Snow looks to mostly end by Tuesday morning, though light showers may reoccur on the hill by the afternoon. Temperatures will warm again on Wednesday in advance of another possible long-duration event beginning later in the day. As in the last storm cycle, this event is forced by a warm and moist polar jet heavily modified by subtropical moisture and warmth. I would expect similar results to this storm, with Thursday and Friday being warm and windy with snow before some cooling occurs later Friday or early Saturday. Snows look to continue through most of Saturday before a quick moving ridge warms temperatures further by the end of the weekend.
Weather then turns dry for a few days before there is general model agreement of a storm for around midweek.
Saturday, February 8, 2014
The Steamboat ski area reported 3” mid and 3.5” top at the 11am update, and I see light snow on the upper mountain looking out my window. This weather pattern continues to make the forecast difficult for Steamboat as atmospheric temperatures are expected to stay mostly static or slightly warm until Sunday evening when some cool air finally works into the area. I’m inclined to dismiss what I consider the wildly optimistic Denver forecast of 22-36” by Sunday night for the Gore range and side closer to the saner 16-20” forecast for the Park range by Monday afternoon from the Grand Junction office.
We will get some snow in this pattern, but it will be heavy and wind-affected. And if valley temperatures rise much further, which they are forecast to do, we may even see the ‘R’ word (rain) down here by tomorrow. Since about 3” has already been reported, I would expect 4-8” to be reported by tomorrow morning. While light snow will continue during the day Sunday on the mountain, moderate to heavy snow will likely accompany the front bringing the cooler air into the region Sunday evening.
Snows will continue Monday and taper off by Tuesday morning. I would expect 6-12” by Monday morning, with an additional 3-6” reported by Tuesday morning.
Temperature will warm again by Tuesday afternoon ahead of the next wave currently timed for midweek. There is model disagreement with respect to the strength of this wave so snowfall amounts are uncertain at this time. The moist and relatively warm polar jet is forecast to continue over out area through the workweek and into the weekend keeping warm and unsettled weather over the region.
Thursday, February 6, 2014
The Steamboat ski area reported 1” mid / 2” top early this morning, and the 11am update had an additional 1” mid / 2” top falling between 5am and 11am. We currently have cold air near the surface being overrun by northwest flow contained within a moist and relatively warm branch of the polar jet. Forecast snow amounts will be tricky as two different physical processes compete. Generally, a warming airmass in the mid-levels is not conducive for significant snow accumulations as the warming increases stability and decreases relative humidity. However, this relatively warm airmass is being lifted over the cold air entrenched in the Yampa Valley, and this extra ingredient means light snow accumulations will continue. I might expect a 3-6” report by tomorrow morning.
Continued light snow should occur through Friday before an embedded wave races by to our north Friday night. This will bring some cooling to the atmosphere, increasing snowfall rates through early Saturday before the atmosphere warms again earlier in the day, likely ending snowfall for a very brief period. Snow accumulations may be in the 4-8” range by Saturday morning.
Atmospheric temperatures are then forecast to hold mostly steady through Sunday even as valleys likely warm above freezing on that day. Light snow should redevelop by Saturday afternoon and persist Sunday before another stronger wave passes over the area late Sunday or early Monday. Probably another 3-6” by Sunday morning, and 8-16” spread between the Monday and Tuesday morning reports. The timing of the Sunday night/Monday wave will be refined in later model runs and will determine whether significant snows occur early enough to be included in the Monday morning report.
Snows will likely end for a short time sometime on Tuesday before another embedded wave in the persistent northwest flow will repeat the above pattern midweek.