Unsettled weather persists through the weekend

Friday, April 15, 2022

A mixture of sun and clouds with breezy winds and temperatures in the upper forties are over the Steamboat Springs area this Friday mid-afternoon. Behind a disorganized weather disturbance that has stayed mostly to our north today, there may be some sun on Saturday with temperatures in the fifties. However, clouds will thicken and lower later in the day ahead of small storm that starts Saturday night and lingers through Sunday. After the past week of inclement weather, nice springtime weather is advertised to start the work week.

Persistent areas of low pressure over the Pacific Northwest and the upper Midwest have kept the jet stream overhead this week, leading to the windy conditions. Additionally, energy ejecting out of the Pacific Northwest has lead to our week of inclement weather, with impressive late-season snow totals reported at the Steamboat Ski Resort. Despite the pleas from the snow gods and the public to extend the ski season, the 16.5” at mid-mountain and 29” up top between Monday afternoon and Thursday morning has sat mostly undisturbed since Closing Day last Sunday.

An inconsequential storm has stayed mostly to our north today, precluding much, if any, precipitation. But another storm currently moving through the Gulf of Alaska will help dislodge the area of low pressure over the Pacific Northwest and then move over our area from Saturday night through Sunday. Winds will turn to be from the west to our favorable direction from the northwest, and I would expect 2-5” at mid-mountain between Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, with more likely at higher elevations.

The work week looks to start nice as a ridge of high pressure builds over the West ahead of what looks like a grazing storm for midweek that is currently part of a storm in the Bering Sea. But far more interesting will be the progression of Typhoon Malakas which is currently near Japan and is the first named storm and first typhoon of the year in the West Pacific. Unbelievably, there is reasonable weather forecast model agreement that the decaying typhoon will interact with what is left of the Bering Sea storm as it crosses the Pacific during the work week and bring another round of wintry weather to parts of the West sometime around next weekend.

So stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon where I should have better ideas about the impacts of that grazing midweek storm and the possibility of wintry weather around next weekend.

Thursday afternoon forecast coming Friday

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Just a quick note that I’ve seem to run out of time today, so the full weather forecast will be issued on Friday, including some storm totals from this week’s storm. In the meantime, expect a quick moving storm to bring 1-4” of snow during Friday morning and afternoon to mid-mountain, along with more winds from the west. Saturday should be the most spring feeling day since last Monday, but another slightly stronger storm follows for Saturday night with showers tapering off during the day Sunday.

Wintry storm set to pummel Steamboat

Monday, April 11, 2022

Current temperatures are in the upper forties in the town of Steamboat Springs and around thirty degrees at the top of the now-closed Steamboat Ski Resort under cloudy skies this Monday mid-afternoon. After a Closing Day powder day yesterday, more wintry weather is on our doorstep, with heavy snowfall rates, blowing snow and plummeting temperatures starting tonight. The most inclement weather is expected tonight and tomorrow morning, though cold and snowy weather will persist into Thursday. We may then see a break in the precipitation before additional energy and moisture bring the possibility of unsettled weather back for the end of the work week.

A potent wintry storm is currently hammering the Pacific Northwest and is forecast to quickly move through the Intermountain West today before bringing a strong cold front through our area after midnight, with windy conditions preceding the storm. We may see light showers ahead of the cold front, with precipitation being liquid at the lower elevations, but the wintry weather should arrive in an impressive manner midway between midnight tonight and sunrise Tuesday.

Winds first from the south and then the southwest will be increasing ahead of the cold front, with gusts above 60 mph possible by midnight. Luckily the winds should die down a bit as the snow picks up, with rates as high as 2 inches per hour at times leading to difficult or even impossible travel over Rabbit Ears Pass tonight. Snowfall rates might decrease, but may still be heavy at almost an inch per hour through noon before snowfall markedly diminishes in the afternoon as the winds return, with gusts as high as 50 mph possible Tuesday afternoon.

Snowfall at mid-mountain might be in the 4-8” range by what would have been the 5 am Tuesday morning report, with another 4-8” during the day and several more inches overnight, for a 10-20” ongoing storm total by Wednesday morning.

Temperatures are going to be frigid, with high temperatures in town likely mired in the twenties on both Tuesday and Wednesday, which is over twenty degrees below our average of 51 F! And temperatures at the summit of the Steamboat Ski Resort look to similarly reflect a mid-winter day and top out in the low teens.

Snow showers will persist on Wednesday, though at more modest rates than experienced the day before. And there is a trailing bit of energy that is forecast to pass over later Wednesday, so we could see another 2-5” by Thursday morning at mid-mountain. The town of Steamboat Springs will not escape the snowfall after the cold front, with storm total accumulations between Monday night and Thursday morning in 5-10” range.

The weather should quiet down on Thursday, with weather forecast models disagreeing on the possibility of unsettled weather to close out the work week. So stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon where I’ll recap the storm totals and discuss the weather for the upcoming weekend.

Closing Weekend weather starts nice and turns unsettled

Thursday, April 7, 2022

The winds have finally subsided on this sunny Thursday noon with temperatures in the mid-thirties in the town of Steamboat Springs and upper teens near the top of the Steamboat Ski Resort. Sunny skies and warming temperatures will continue into Closing Weekend before a cold front Saturday night brings increasing clouds and winds by Saturday afternoon, snow showers on Saturday night and a cool and unsettled Closing Day on Sunday.

A ridge of high pressure is currently sitting over the West Coast, with two areas of deep and cold low pressure areas extending from the Bering Sea through the Gulf of Alaska and from the Great Lakes through the eastern half of the country. The ridge of high pressure will move over our area by Saturday morning, allowing for plenty of sun and warming temperatures from a bit below our average of 50 F today to the mid-fifties on Friday.

While Saturday will likely start sunny, the leading part of that Gulf of Alaska storm is forecast to cross the Pacific Northwest coast early on Friday and move across the Great Basin through the day, landing on our doorstep by Saturday afternoon. So even though temperatures will continue to rise toward the sixty degree mark in town on Saturday, clouds will be increasing through the day as westerly winds increase.

The cold front associated with this leading storm is forecast to pass through around Saturday evening, with the snow showers at all elevations heaviest overnight and tapering off on a cool Sunday where high temperatures will be relegated back to the forties. Snowfall amounts are will be dependent upon the amount of moisture associated with the storm, with some models predicting 3-6” by the Sunday morning report and others producing nothing. My guess is there will be enough for yet another (low end) Closing Day powder day, as often seems to happen.

What else also often seems to happen right after the ski area closes is a major storm, and the coming work week will reinforce that odd coincidence. Additional cold air from around the Bering Sea and western Alaska will continue to be incorporated into the bulk of the Gulf of Alaska storm, which is forecast to move over our area in pieces through most of the rest of the work week. This will be a cold and wet system, with total snowfall possibly containing around an inch of liquid water, so we are not done yet adding to our snowpack, which peaks on average tomorrow.

I would say normally to stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon, but with that being Closing Day and the possibility that I will have to personally inspect any new snow Sunday morning, my regular schedule may be interrupted. So if not Sunday, then I’ll have more on our next likely major wintry storm on Monday.

Windy and wintry weather returns on Tuesday

Sunday, April 3, 2022

Temperatures are in the mid-forties in the town of Steamboat Springs and mid to upper twenties near the top of Mt Werner under mostly cloudy skies this Sunday afternoon. We should see some sun tomorrow along with warmer temperatures ahead of a wintry storm that will bring windy and snowy weather back to our area starting on Tuesday. While the bulk of the snow will likely fall on Tuesday, the storm will linger into Thursday morning before warming temperatures and clearing skies start the Closing Weekend of the Steamboat Ski Resort.

A storm currently in the Gulf of Alaska is mixing with some cold air from western Canada, and is forecast to strengthen into a large wintry storm that will travel across the country this week and bring freezing temperatures to the entire East by the weekend. Behind a wave of moisture that brought 1.5” of snow to the top of Mt. Werner just after report time this Sunday morning, we should see some filtered sunshine for the rest of this afternoon and more sun on Monday under increasing breezes from the west where high temperatures should be around five degrees above our rapidly increasing average of 49 F.

That all changes after midnight on Monday as the Gulf of Alaska storm moves across the Pacific northwest and strengthens as it moves across the northern tier states through midweek. A strong cold front will be on our doorstep by Tuesday morning, with increasing moisture in windy flow from the northwest starting snows by around sunrise.

One thing that has shown up in at the end of the shorter-range forecasts is the possibility of some freezing precipitation Tuesday morning as the cold front moves through the area. This may or may not occur, but any icing, along with strong winds, is sure to complicate lift operations.

Snowfall amounts are uncertain, but currently we could see an inch or two by the Tuesday morning report, with another 3-6” during a windy day that may have gusts above 50 mph and lead to difficult travel at times over Rabbit Ears Pass.

Snowfall rates will decrease overnight and into Wednesday morning, where there could be 4-8” reported at mid-mountain for the Wednesday morning report. High temperatures will plummet from five degrees above average on Monday to fifteen degrees below average on Tuesday and Wednesday, with temperatures in town struggling to reach much above freezing on both days.

Winds will decrease some on Wednesday, and snows may end for a time, but it will still be relatively windy as a trailing wave restarts snow showers later Wednesday and overnight, especially at the higher elevations, with several more inches possible for the Thursday morning report.

And even though we’ll likely see some sun on Thursday, high temperatures will still be below average and in the low-forties as cold air continues to be carried over our area by northerly winds on the backside of the still-intensifying storm that should then be over the Great Lakes.

Beautiful and warm springtime weather should be returning to our area by Friday and for the start of Closing Weekend festivities, including the annual Cardboard Classic, even as freezing temperatures kiss the Gulf Coast and the Florida border.

There is another storm, or series of storms in our future around Closing Day or soon after, which seems to happen more often than not, so stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon to see if Closing Day will be more like a winter day or spring day.

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23 February 2021

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