Cooler weather with some snow arrives midweek

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Partly sunny skies with temperatures around fifty degrees are over the Steamboat Springs area early this Sunday afternoon. More sun and warmer temperatures are forecast for Monday, while Tuesday sees another day of warm temperatures but increasing clouds ahead of a cold front Tuesday night. The cold air will be here by Wednesday, but moisture is lacking so snowfall will be meager. Thursday looks to start cold and will be dry, with more warming on Friday ahead of another chance for snow during the weekend.

An expansive ridge of high pressure is currently sandwiched between a low pressure area extending from the Gulf of Alaska southward to Hawaii and another extending from Hudson Bay southward through the Great Lakes. Some quite cold air has moved southward into the Gulf of Alaska and will be forced eastward by the eastward-moving area of low pressure over the Pacific, bringing a storm into the Pacific Northwest around Monday night.

The flow from the northwest that is currently over our area will dry over the rest of today and tomorrow and winds will turn to be from the west ahead of the Pacific Northwest storm. So look for mostly sunny skies on Monday with temperatures in the mid-fifties or even approaching sixty degrees, around fifteen degrees above our average of 42 F.

The main part of the storm is forecast to move through Washington and Oregon on Monday and northern Idaho and Montana on Tuesday, grazing our area with a cold front late Tuesday or early Wednesday. Winds and clouds will increase ahead of the front during the day Tuesday, with a chance for some showers with meager snow accumulations first at the higher elevations by Tuesday afternoon and then all elevations from Tuesday night through Wednesday morning.

We will go from high temperatures around fifteen degrees above average on Tuesday to five to ten degrees below average on Wednesday, but the moisture goes away behind the storm, along with any chances for more snowfall after Wednesday morning.

Thursday morning will start cold, but high temperatures will warm to near average under sunny skies as a transient ridge of high pressure moves through ahead of another storm forecast to cross the West Coast Thursday night.

This storm has a chance to bring cooler temperatures and some snowfall back to our area between Friday night and mid-Saturday, which is the day the Steamboat Ski Resort is scheduled to open. However, the coming two storms certainly won’t be game-changers, and our best snow for the week will be of the man-made variety. Stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon where I’ll discuss how that weekend storm is shaping up.

Snow showers taper off through Friday ahead of nice start to the weekend

Thursday, November 11, 2021

The Steamboat Springs area has finally seen some more wintry weather these last two days, with temperatures hovering around freezing in town late on this Thursday afternoon. Even though town did not see much snow, the Steamboat Powdercam at the top of Sunshine Peak is showing about 7 inches of snow accumulation so far, with some more coming tonight. Snow showers are forecast to taper off through Friday and may even hang on into Saturday morning at the higher elevations with dry and warmer weather forecast by Saturday afternoon. A cold front looks to graze our area on by Saturday night with precipitation likely staying just north and east of our area before warm and dry weather returns for the start of the following work week.

A ridge of high pressure over the West Coast is sandwiched between deep and cold areas of low pressure centered over the Gulf of Alaska and the upper Midwest. While the brunt of the current storm has passed, snow showers, some moderate, will continue through midnight or so in the favorable cold, moist and unstable flow from the northwest. Snow showers will taper off after midnight, though slowly, as they are forecast to continue through Friday and possible into Saturday morning at the higher elevations, with several more inches of snowfall possible.

Even though snow showers will hang on Friday at the higher elevations, temperatures will warm in town to around our average of 43 F as the West Coast ridge of high pressure is pushed over our area by energy ejecting out of the area of low pressure in the Gulf of Alaska. Skies clear and some sun returns by around noon on Saturday as temperatures warm into the fifties.

That energy ejecting from the Gulf is forecast to travel over the ridge and graze our area by late Saturday afternoon or night on its way eastward. Precipitation is currently forecast to stay to our north and east, so after a cool start to Sunday, temperatures return to the fifties by the afternoon.

Unfortunately for the projected opening of the Steamboat Ski Resort in a week from this Saturday, a ridge of high pressure is expected to move overhead for the beginning of the work week, with our next chance of colder weather and precipitation around midweek. I’ll certainly be talking about that in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon.

Unsettled weather returns after a gorgeous weekend

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Temperatures reached the mid-sixties by mid-afternoon on this Sunday, same as yesterday. The unseasonably warm weather with high temperatures almost twenty degrees above our average of 47 F looks to go away for the upcoming work week as the weather turns unsettled and snow returns to the weather forecast by midweek.

A ridge of high pressure is currently sitting over our region while a persistent area of low pressure extends from the Gulf of Alaska westward to the Bering Sea. A chunk of cold air has broken away from the North Pole and will be incorporated into the persistent low pressure area, eventually forming a storm in the Gulf of Alaska that is forecast to make landfall along the Vancouver coast early on Tuesday.

A wave of energy ejecting out of the developing storm will pass near our area on Monday, so expect increasing clouds with a small chance of rain showers in the afternoon and overnight, along with high temperatures in the fifties.

The parent storm is expected to split along the West Coast on Tuesday as it moves inland, with breezy winds developing ahead of the southern portion of the storm which is forecast to move through the Great Basin later Tuesday, Temperatures will be similar to Monday, though increasing clouds through the day will yield a better chance of showers by later in the afternoon.

Shower chances become likely overnight Tuesday and through Wednesday as the best part of the southern part of storm passes through our area. Snow levels will descend overnight, likely reaching the Yampa Valley floor by Wednesday morning. Snow showers should continue through the day, with moderate to sometimes heavy snowfall continuing at the higher elevations under the stronger storm cells, with difficult travel at times over Rabbit Ears Pass.

The cold temperatures associated with the southern part of the storm will arrive Thursday morning after the best moisture has left the area, but we could see 5-10” of snow at and above pass between Tuesday and Wednesday nights, with some snow possible down in town, most likely on non-paved surfaces.

While Thursday will start dry, the parent storm is forecast to graze our area as it moves into the Upper Midwest and strengthens, bringing another surge of cold air and moisture later Thursday into Friday. More snowfall is likely at all elevations before a ridge of high pressure moves overhead on Friday thanks to another developing storm over the Aleutian Islands.

Stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon as I’ll take a guess at snowfall amounts for the last part of the storm on Thursday night, and discuss whether that ridge of high pressure sticks around for the weekend or gives way to more showery weather.

Gorgeous fall weekend coming up

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Temperatures are in the mid-fifties late this Thursday afternoon under brilliant blue skies. More of the same is expected through the weekend with an unsettled weather pattern currently forecast for the following work week.

A ridge of high pressure over the southern and central Rockies is currently extending northward into the central Canadian Plains and is flanked by a strong area of low pressure centered in the Gulf of Alaska and another centered over Hudson Bay which extends southward through the Great Lakes. A weak wave of energy currently moving across the Pacific Northwest will have little affect on our area on Friday as it passes to our north, other than some stronger breezes generally from the west.

The breezier conditions look to persist through the weekend under continued sunny skies and temperatures approaching and possibly exceeding sixty degrees, well above our average of 48 F, as the storm track stays north of our area.

Waves of energy and moisture are forecast to be ejected out of the Gulf of Alaska low pressure area even as it is constantly recharged by more incoming Pacific energy and cold air moving southward through the Bering Sea. Weather forecast models are disagreeing about the timing of these disturbances, though it looks like one will be close enough to our area near the beginning of the work week for the possibility of some light showers, followed by a stronger system for midweek.

Enjoy the gorgeous fall weekend, and I’ll have more about the unsettled weather pattern for the following work week in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon.

Unsettled weather for the work week starts later Sunday

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Partly sunny skies with temperatures in the low fifties are over the Steamboat Springs area just after noon on this Sunday. A series of disturbances will pass through the area through midweek with the first bringing rain showers to the Yampa Valley and snow showers to the higher elevations starting late this afternoon or evening. Periods of precipitation will continue through midweek, with snow possible down to the valley floor by Wednesday morning before we see a break in the unsettled weather on Thursday.

Our area sits between a deep and cold area of low pressure over the upper Midwest and a strong ridge of high pressure extending from Vancouver northward along the British Columbia coast. A cold front associated with the Midwest area of low pressure is currently moving southward through Wyoming and will be on our doorstep this evening. Additionally, an eddy spinning along the Oregon coast will be forced mostly eastward under the ridge of high pressure by a storm in the Gulf of Alaska, with some energy ejecting out ahead of the eddy bringing showers to our area later this afternoon or evening.

I’m sure all parents bringing their children to the annual Downtown Halloween Stroll want to know the exact time showers will start, but unfortunately I can provide only a rough estimate. My guess is that the cold front will remain to our north and the event will start dry, though there will likely be some passing rain showers by 6 or 7 pm.

Some of the eddy is forecast to move through our area Monday morning, and in addition to some cool air leaking south from the cold front to our north, expect some light showers through the night increasing in intensity at times from Monday morning through the afternoon. Several inches of accumulation are possible at the higher elevations, with some flakes possible down to the Yampa Valley floor.

Better chances of more significant precipitation begin later Tuesday and overnight thanks to the incoming Gulf of Alaska storm. The storm is forecast to split when it makes landfall on Monday, with the southern piece moving across our area later Tuesday and combining with another surge of cool air from that area of low pressure over the Midwest. We could see 1-4” of snowfall accumulate on the non-paved areas around town between Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons in our favorable cool, moist and unstable flow from the northwest, with 5-10” of snowfall at the top of Mt. Werner and difficult travel at times over Rabbit Ears Pass.

Snow showers will hang on but taper off at the higher elevations through Wednesday afternoon, with a dry and mostly sunny day forecast for Thursday. There looks to be another batch of unsettled weather as we head into the weekend, but I’ll talk about that possibility in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon.

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25 September 2021

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