Wintry weather this week

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Temperatures are in the low forties this Sunday noon in the Steamboat Springs area as rain showers at the lower elevations and snow showers at the higher elevations taper off. We’ll see some peeks of sun between the diminishing showers later today and more sun tomorrow before the first of two wintry storms invade our area starting Tuesday. The first storm will bring cold and wet weather through Wednesday, along with several inches of snow possible on the Yampa Valley floor followed by the second wintry storm on Thursday.

The weekend storm which began Friday afternoon produced about 2” of snow at mid-mountain, as shown by the latest Steamboat mid-mountain Powdercam, and about 4.5” up top, as shown by the Sunshine Peak Powedercam. With snow levels around 8500′, the town received between four tenths and a half inch of rainfall as of this morning, and the rain and snow showers should taper off through the day as the storm vacates the area.

Though we will see a brief reprieve to the wet weather on a mostly sunny and warmer Monday, an unseasonably cold and wet storm currently affecting the Pacific Northwest coast is forecast to cross the Great Basin on Monday and bring cold and wet weather to our area starting on Tuesday.

Most of the precipitation will be along and behind the cold front, due between noon and sunset on Tuesday, with snow at the higher elevations descending down to the valley floor by later in the day. The center of the storm is forecast to pass almost directly overhead Tuesday night, with good snowfall predicted behind the center of the storm as we see our favorable cold, wet and unstable flow from the northwest. Town will likely see its first accumulating snowfall of the season, especially on grassy surfaces, with several inches possible by Wednesday morning, and around 4-8” of snowfall up top.

Travel over Rabbit Ears Pass may be difficult at times from Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday morning as the storm barrels through our area. Showers will taper off during the day Wednesday at the lower elevations, though may persist through sunset at the higher elevations.

But they will begin again by Thursday morning as another storm is forecast to push through during the day. This one will not be as strong as the early week one, but will still be cold and bring more snow showers, with further accumulations very likely at the higher elevations but more uncertain at the valley floor.

High temperatures are forecast to dive to the low forties on Tuesday and fall even further to the upper thirties on Wednesday and Thursday, which is over twenty degrees below our average of 61 F and closer to temperatures observed in late November rather than mid-October!

The storm is forecast to end by Friday morning, with drying and warming headed into next weekend. Enjoy the storm, and I’ll have a recap of the snow amounts in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon, and discuss whether a nice weekend is still in the forecast.

Showers to start the weekend

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Temperatures are in the mid-sixties this Thursday afternoon in the Steamboat Springs area under partly cloudy skies. Our recent stretch of very nice fall weather is going to be at least interrupted starting on Friday with showers that may extend through Saturday before we see a short reprieve to end the weekend.

An elongated and southwest oriented area of low pressure is currently off the West Coast while another storm is brewing off the Aleutian Islands. The first storm will interact with several waves of upstream energy between the storms, with a couple of cool fronts expected Friday and Saturday afternoons.

Showers are forecast to begin Friday afternoon, perhaps soon after noon, as energy and moisture eject out ahead of the consolidating West Coast storm in increasingly breezy flow out of the southwest. The front is expected later in the afternoon, with showery weather decreasing Friday night.

But more showers are expected on Saturday in advance of a secondary surge of cool air that is forecast to arrive Saturday afternoon. We actually see our favorable moist and unstable flow out of the northwest behind the front, so showers may continue overnight and into Sunday morning as the storm vacates our area.

The weather will clear later Sunday, and Monday should be nice, but that Aleutian Island storm is forecast to mix with air from the North Pole and strengthen as it moves across the Gulf of Alaska during the weekend. I’ll certainly have more on this big weather-maker in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon, but early indications are wet and cold by Tuesday, with snow likely down to the Yampa Valley floor by midweek.

Nice weather for the most of the work week with a small storm Wednesday

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Temperatures around sixty degrees and bluebird skies are over the Steamboat Springs area this Sunday noon. We have a couple of gorgeous fall days coming up today, tomorrow, and most of Tuesday before a small storm grazes our area for an unsettled Wednesday. The weather looks to turn nice again for Thursday and possibly Friday before we may see some effects from a large and complex storm as soon as the weekend.

Currently, there is an eddy of low pressure off the West Coast, a large storm in the Gulf of Alaska and a ridge of high pressure over the West, with the exception of a small and dry eddy over southwest Utah that will not affect our weather. Expect warm and dry days with little wind thru Tuesday, with high temperatures near 70 F today and likely above that for Monday and Tuesday, which will be five to ten degrees above our average of 64 F.

Early in the work week, the Gulf of Alaska storm is forecast to move eastward, with the southwest flow ahead of the storm forcing that eddy off the West Coast inland. There may be some clouds moving overhead later Tuesday ahead of the small storm, with the weather turning cooler and unsettled for Wednesday with likely showers and breezy southwest winds.

Coincidentally, the Gulf of Alaska storm is forecast to make landfall along the Pacific Northwest coast and elongate to the southwest along the West Coast, with additional waves of energy and cold air keeping the large storm active through and likely past the weekend. Ahead of that storm, the atmosphere dries out and temperatures rise again for Thursday and Friday in the breezy southwesterly flow. Expect lots of sun on Thursday and increasing clouds on Friday with possibly showers late in the day depending upon the evolution of the storm.

Be sure to get out and enjoy the fall colors this week, the earlier the better, as the increasing breezes starting Wednesday will accelerate the end of what has turned out to be a spectacular color show. And stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon where the evolution of that Gulf of Alaska storm will be discussed and whether it may lead to a period of active weather starting as soon as the weekend.

Sunny skies return for the weekend

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Temperatures in the mid-fifties and partly sunny skies are over the Steamboat Springs area early this Thursday afternoon, with high temperatures today expected to be around sixty degrees. The temperatures will slowly warm through the weekend along with diminishing shower chances, with warm temperatures and sunny skies expected to start the new work week.

The storm that produced the eddy of low pressure currently over the Four Corners was responsible for moving out the previous eddy in the same area. This previous eddy produced good rainfall over the Yampa Valley as it moved near our area Tuesday night with around of inch of precipitation in town and an inch of snowfall at the top of Sunshine Peak by Wednesday morning, as noted by the recently recommissioned Steamboat Powdercam.

Unfortunately, the current eddy formed as a result of an incoming storm splitting more than I originally forecast in the last Sunday weather narrative, which meant the best cold air and storm energy missed our area. Temperatures will stay near the sixty degree mark today, which is five degrees below our average of 65 F, as an incoming Pacific storm makes landfall near Vancouver.

The Four Corners eddy moves very little until later Friday, but weakens, which means we’ll see more sun and some warming on Friday with high temperatures closer to average, with only a slight chance of some weak afternoon storms due to the remaining moisture.

While the bulk of the Vancouver storm is forecast to be in Montana early in the weekend, a small part shears to the southwest on Friday and ends up leaving an eddy off the West Coast that may be a player in our weather for the next work week. Coincidentally, the storm is forecast to kick the Four Corners eddy eastward across the Oklahoma Panhandle by Friday night, but the storm will too far south to affect our area.

Modest further warming is forecast for the weekend with lots of sun and hardly any shower chances, with high temperatures possibly breaching the seventy degree mark by Monday as a ridge of high pressure builds overhead.

Enjoy what is sure to be another very nice weekend, and be sure to check back Sunday afternoon for my next regularly scheduled weather narrative where I’ll have a better idea of whether that West Coat eddy affects our area around midweek.

Rain likely by midweek

Sunday, September 26, 2021

The Steamboat Springs area is enjoying another quintessential Colorado fall day with temperatures in the seventies and nary a cloud in sight this Sunday noon. The spectacular weather continues Monday before the weather becomes unsettled by later Tuesday and likely wet by Wednesday.

Two weather features will affect our weather by Tuesday afternoon; an eddy of low pressure currently in central Arizona and a strong storm currently in the Gulf of Alaska. But we’ll get another couple of gorgeous fall days today and Monday before the Gulf of Alaska storm is forecast to cross the Pacific Northwest coast Monday night.

The Arizona eddy will be forced to the northeast and toward our area on Tuesday as it is incorporated into the southwest flow ahead of the Pacific Northwest storm. There may be some clouds around on Monday at times in advance of the eddy, with cloudiness increasing on Tuesday ahead of increasing shower chances by Tuesday afternoon or evening.

Meanwhile, the Pacific Northwest storm is forecast to enter the Great Basin on Tuesday and send a cold front through our area on Wednesday. Between the subtropical moisture carried over our area by the eddy and the cold front with the approaching storm, expect high chances for widespread showers by Tuesday night, with lesser but still significant chances continuing through Wednesday.

While high temperatures today and tomorrow will be in the seventies, five to ten degrees above our average of 67 F, they will cool a bit Tuesday under the clouds, and drop to five to ten degrees below average on a showery Wednesday.

Snow levels behind the cold front should drop to between 9000′ and 10,000′, and though the coldest air comes late Wednesday after the best moisture has left the area, there should be up to an inch or two of snow on the upper third of Mt. Werner by Thursday morning.

The storm is expected to split over the Great Basin by late Wednesday, with a fair bit of uncertainty with respect to how much energy is partitioned between the eventual northern and southern parts of the storm, but right now another eddy that may eventually influence our weather is forecast to be left behind in the southern Great Basin or Desert Southwest. We may see some showers on Thursday afternoon that persist through the weekend, according the European ECMWF, or rapidly diminish, according to the American GFS, or some sort of compromise. Stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon where the weather for next weekend will be in better focus.

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17 September 2017

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