Storm today disappoints

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Other than some non-accumulating snowflakes, there is not much weather happening in Steamboat Springs this Thursday afternoon. There will be another chance for accumulating snowfall from this storm tonight and tomorrow, but overall this storm has been a bust for our area, even as blizzard conditions occurred over the Colorado Plains. Generally unsettled weather with some snow chances follows for the upcoming week, though the timing and amounts are uncertain.

Shorter range weather forecast modes had been insistent that moist easterly flow around a storm moving over eastern Colorado would flow over the Continental Divide and interact with a cold front to produce heavy snow for our area. The atmosphere had other ideas, and we were disappointingly left with not much other than clouds and easterly mountain top winds.

But there is a chance for some accumulating snows tonight from energy ejecting out of a disorganized storm currently over Nevada and tomorrow from showers in the cool and unstable atmosphere. We could see 2-5” overnight and another 1-4” under the heavier showers tomorrow, which is far less than I expected yesterday.

There are three additional storms that will influence our weather for the upcoming week; the one in Nevada, one in the Gulf of Alaska and one midway between Hawaii and California. All of these storms are forecast to interact in some way with one other over the upcoming week, and likely due to the paucity of observational data over the Pacific, weather forecast models disagree on the eventual track and timing of these storms.

Even the forecast for Saturday is uncertain, though at this point it looks like a mostly dry day with a chance of some showers in the afternoon. After that, our weather will be dependent upon how these storms eventually interact.

Other than generally unsettled weather with some portions of some days remaining dry, weather forecast models agree that eventually the Gulf of Alaska storm will swing inland around midweek, though whether this storm passes close to our area or stays south is unknown at this time. I hope to have more clarity for my next scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon.

Big storm likely Thursday

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Warm temperatures and partly sunny skies are over Steamboat Springs this Sunday afternoon, with more of the same forecast through midweek. Several interacting storms will bring precipitation chances back to our area starting Wednesday night, with a good chance of a significant and cold storm on Thursday. Though we will see breaks, unsettled weather is forecast for the weekend and the following work week.

The Bob Adams airport has a current temperature of 49 F temperature, seven degrees above our average of 42. The partly sunny skies and warm temperatures will be around for Tuesday and part of Wednesday ahead a large storm just off the West Coast that is currently pounding the Sierras with strong winds and heavy snow.

A Pacific storm currently rounding a ridge of high pressure in the Gulf of Alaska is forecast to split, with the southern part of the split forcing the West Coast storm southward along the coast later Tuesday while the northern part travels through western Canada and mixes with the cold air there. This southern part of the split is absorbed by the West Coast storm and forces it to elongate along the coast, even as another Pacific storm forces the complex across the Great Basin on Wednesday.

The evolution of the storm system will be complicated, with the elongated storm dumb-belling through the Great Basin and bringing first clouds later Wednesday followed by precipitation Wednesday night.

Meanwhile, the cold northern part of the split storm is forecast to graze our area and bring a cold front through on Thursday, The interaction of the cold front and the leading part of the Great Basin storm is forecast to bring a period of moderate to heavy snows to our area. Additionally, the colder temperatures mean the snow will be much lighter and fluffier than the storms we have seen recently, with travel likely difficult at times. Guessing snowfall amounts for Friday morning on Sunday afternoon is hazardous, but 6-12” of snow or more is possible.

Weather forecast models disagree on how much energy is left behind on the western side of the dumbbell, though they agree that another Pacific storm, some of which may pass through the Gulf of Alaska, will force what’s left of the dumbbell storm over our area sometime next weekend for another round of snow.

And the storminess looks to continue the next work week as this next Pacific storm is forecast to move across the Great Basin and eventually our area.

Storms for later Friday and later next week

Thursday, March 12, 2020

After a couple of tenths of an inch of rain fell near the base of the Steamboat Ski Area overnight, and 3” of snow near the top, skies are trying to clear this Thursday noon ahead of our next warm storm forecast from around noon on Friday into Saturday. Contrary to earlier expectations, the next significant storm for the Steamboat Springs area may wait until after mid-next week with warm and relatively quiet weather until then.

The weak cool front that grazed our area last night was not as productive as one of the short-term weather forecast model indicated yesterday afternoon, though the 2.5” at mid-mountain was in line with the others. Clearer skies are upstream and should be over our area this afternoon for some sun ahead of the next storm starting Friday.

This storm is currently located just off the southernmost coast of California and is forecast to be forced eastward across the Desert Southwest tonight by a large and cold storm moving southward along the West Coast from the Gulf of Alaska. The Desert Southwest storm is forecast to move across the Great Basin early Friday and over our area Friday afternoon. This is another warm storm that will begin as rain at the base and snow around mid-mountain starting around noon on Friday. The precipitation should come in bursts to start with dense snowfall rates over an inch per hour at times through the afternoon and evening. The storm passes over our area around midnight at which point we should see marginally cooler temperatures and somewhat lighter density snow in the westerly flow on the backside of the storm.

My current guess is 4-8” of snow by the Saturday morning report, some of which would have fallen the previous day. Showers look likely to continue through the day with another inch or two possible before drier air moves over our area later in the day.

What looked like an unsettled period ahead of a major storm early next work week has turned into a much drier and warmer forecast from Sunday through Wednesday as the Gulf of Alaska storm maintains its position off the West Coast, even as it moves southward. While this is good news for precipitation in California, it means much quieter weather for our area as the storm remains well to our west.

I would not be surprised for the timing to slow again by my next regularly scheduled forecast on Sunday afternoon, but right now the storm is forecast to take a similar track to the storm for tomorrow as it is forced eastward by another incoming Pacific storm. This would bring precipitation back to our area starting around Thursday and lasting into the following weekend.

Unsettled weather for the week ahead

Sunday, March 8, 2020

The Steamboat Springs area has seen some sun and clouds this Sunday, along with some raindrops below 8000′ and some snowflakes above. The weather today may be similar to the weather for the rest of the upcoming week, with some storms near our area that will provide for a fair bit of clouds but limited accumulating precipitation.

Currently, a weak wave that is passing over our area will allow showers to continue overnight. The best accumulations will be at the highest elevations to our north, but 1-4” of fairly dense snow is forecast by mid-morning Monday, with showers tapering off during the day and yielding to periods of sun, especially at the lower elevations.

Meanwhile, the southern branch of a split storm has formed an eddy off the California coast while the northern part of the split storm moves across the northern Rockies and grazes our area later Tuesday. After a partly cloudy start to the day. showers will increase again through Tuesday afternoon and evening with several inches possible by the Wednesday morning report.

Another Pacific storm moving through the Gulf of Alaska on Tuesday will encourage the California eddy to move eastward towards the Desert Southwest, though still slowly and unpredictably. The Gulf of Alaska storm will graze our area on later on Wednesday into Thursday, and may force the storm eddy to our southwest to eject some energy and moisture over our area. so there is a chance of some still-warm precipitation around then.

At this point, later Thursday into Friday is looking dry with some clouds and sun behind the storm to our north and ahead of the storm to our southwest.

A much stronger and colder storm is forecast to develop over the Gulf of Alaska on Thursday, move southward along the West Coast on Friday, and give the southwestern storm the boot. While the southwestern eddy will likely bring copious precipitation to southern Colorado and at least the southern part of the Front Range and Colorado plains around Friday, our area will be on the northern fringe of the storm, so expect more unsettled weather with some sun, clouds and showers for Friday.

More unsettled weather is expected for the weekend behind that storm as it moves east and ahead of the Gulf of Alaska storm which is forecast to be along the central California coast by mid-weekend. There is uncertainty in the eventual track and strength of this storm as it will be influenced by another possible cold Gulf of Alaska storm, but weather forecast models agree that we have a chance for wintry weather during the following work week.

Spring fever ahead of unsettled weather starting Sunday

Thursday, March 5, 2020

A gorgeous warm and sunny day is in store for the Steamboat Springs area this Thursday, with that weather continuing through most of Saturday. By Sunday, several warm storms will increase precipitation chances through midweek, with our most significant precipitation starting around Wednesday and lasting into Thursday. Drier weather is then forecast for the end of the work week and heading into the following weekend.

A storm off the West Coast has forced a ridge of high pressure to form over the Rocky Mountains, bringing warm temperatures and sunny skies that are expected to last through at least part of Saturday.

The West Coast storm is forecast to elongate and weakly split along the coast on Saturday as another storm just upstream moves through the Gulf of Alaska. The northern part of the storm brings increasing clouds to our area by later in the day Saturday or early Sunday, though low-intensity precipitation will wait until later Sunday into Monday when the southern part of the storm moves across our region after incorporating some subtropical moisture. I’ll have a better idea of how much snow will fall from this storm by my next weather narrative scheduled for Sunday, but 2-5” of snow between Sunday and Monday afternoons is possible.

Meanwhile, the next storm is forecast to also split along the West Coast as it moves out of the Gulf of Alaska on Sunday. Waves of energy and moisture ejecting out of the southern part of the split and the proximity of the northern part of the split will keep unsettled weather weather around from Monday night through Tuesday night with small accumulations possible.

The southern part of the split storm is then forecast to shear to some degree as it moves over our area on Wednesday into Thursday. We’ll probably have our best snowfall during this time frame, though weather forecast models are struggling with the timing and evolution of this part of the storm, so changes in the weather forecast are likely.

Drier weather is forecast to return for the end of the work week and heading into the following weekend, with a much stronger and colder Pacific storm forecast to possibly affect our weather as soon as mid-weekend. We have lots of weather to get through before focus turns to that, though.

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