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Quiet weather for the upcoming week

Thursday, November 7, 2019

The sunny skies and seasonably warm temperatures observed in Steamboat Springs this week will continue for the upcoming week, save for a couple of grazing storms that will bring clouds and cooler temperatures for Monday and later Wednesday.

The benign weather is due to a large and stable ridge of high pressure over the West Coast which extends across Alaska and into Siberia. An incoming Pacific storm will travel through the West Coast ridge this weekend and mix with some cold air from the Canadian Plains as it sinks toward the Midwest, grazing our area late Sunday or early Monday and briefly interrupting the current gorgeous late-fall weather.

The Rocky Mountains will divert moisture and most of the cold air to the Front Range and areas east, but we will see some clouds and a cool down on Veterans Day from the recent five to ten degrees above our average of 47 F to five to ten degrees below. There will also be a small chance of some high elevations snow showers.

While the sun should return on Tuesday, temperatures will increase toward average even as the morning starts chilly.

Another grazing storm is forecast for later Wednesday, and though it won’t be as cold, the storm track may be slightly further to the west. Again, there will be increasing clouds and only a slight chance of snow showers at the higher elevations before the sun returns for more dry and seasonably warm weather for the rest of the work week and headed into the weekend. So the Steamboat Ski Resort’s just-announced and earliest ever Opening Day on that Friday is currently forecast to be a nice one.

Longer-term models agree on another storm crossing the West Coast around the following weekend, but disagree on the storm track, with the more consistent ECMWF forecasting another grazing storm and the more mercurial-this-season American GFS forecasting some type of splitting storm that may bring some weather into the West.

Dry and pleasant weather through the upcoming week

Monday, November 4, 2019

After a cool front grazed Steamboat Springs this Monday morning and brought some clouds, the sun has returned with a 2:30 pm temperature of 46 F, only two degrees below our average. Other than another grazing cool front for late Wednesday or early Thursday, seasonably warm temperatures around five to as much as ten degrees above average are expected through Saturday, after which some light precipitation may return to our area for the end of the weekend.

A ridge of high pressure over the West Coast has directed the unseasonably cold air from last week into the upper Midwest and Northeast, allowing for warming temperatures and light northwesterly winds over our area. This pattern will be persistent through this week and likely the next week as well, mostly deflecting the waves of Pacific energy and moisture riding over the top of the ridge to our east.

A couple of waves will drag cool fronts near north-central Colorado for Thursday and Sunday, cooling temperatures back several degrees below average. While the Thursday wave looks dry, there is a good chance of some light snow showers for Sunday into Monday. Otherwise, expect lots of sun and very pleasant weather, with high temperatures around five to almost ten degrees above average.

This pattern looks to persist into at least the middle of the following week, though long-range weather forecast models do indicate a strengthening Pacific jet stream that will eventually carry storms closer to our area as that workweek progresses.

More seasonable weather returns for the upcoming week

Thursday, October 31, 2019

After the weather extremes of the last several days around Colorado, benign weather appears for the upcoming week, and likely beyond. Several grazing systems will bring cool temperatures and breezy northwest winds to northern Colorado on Friday, around Monday and the following Thursday, along with some clouds and the possibility of light intermittent snow showers at the higher elevations.

After a low this morning of -8 F and a daytime maximum temperature of 12 F yesterday, this Thursday saw a high of 28 F, only several degrees above our average low of 22 F, and 23 F below our average high of 51 F. The ridge of high pressure off the West Coast that has directed arctic our southward over the Rockies has also been responsible for the extreme fire behavior in California as the Santa Ana winds have roared.

We’ll see another cold night tonight with low temperatures around zero, and Pacific energy rounding the ridge will drag a weak cool front through northern Colorado on Friday. But the storm will not mix with polar air again until it is well east of our area, so temperatures will warm several degrees from today even as there is a possibility of some light snow showers at the higher elevations.

After a Saturday morning again near zero, temperatures will begin to recover in earnest behind Friday’s grazing storm, though will still be seasonably cool and around ten degrees below average. This looks to continue for Sunday with plenty of sun and breezy northwest winds

More of the same is expected for the work week as the West Coast ridge looks to remain persistent. A couple more Pacific storms rounding the ridge will continue the breezy northwest winds across northern Colorado, with another couple of grazing cool fronts around Monday and Thursday leading to only a slight decrease in temperatures.

The West Coast ridge is forecast to weaken and move inland for the following weekend as the Pacific jet stream encroaches across the eastern Pacific. Sunny skies and warmer temperatures closer to average are currently expected for the following weekend.

Note that I will be traveling this weekend, likely delaying my normal Sunday afternoon weather narrative until Monday.

Wintry weather for most of the work week

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Temperatures so far this Sunday afternoon are running thirty degrees below our average of 53 F, and this is the warmer day of the next several! Snow showers increase tonight behind the first of two cold fronts, and after the snows taper off on Monday, a second even colder front moves through on Tuesday, with light and fluffy snow showers persisting through Tuesday and most of Wednesday. While precipitation looks to end by Wednesday night, the cold air will stick around for another day under sunny skies before moderating heading into the following nice weekend.

The mid-winter-like weather is courtesy of energy and moisture riding over a sharp ridge of high pressure off the West Coast and mixing with frigid air from near the North Pole. Snowfall between this afternoon and Monday afternoon is expected to be in the 5-10” range on the hill and 3-6” in town, and with the Steamboat Powdercam finally back up, we will finally be able to watch the snow accumulate at the top of Sunshine Peak.

The snows will taper off on Monday before restarting very early Tuesday when another blast of arctic air moves across our area before noon. While the water content of the snow will be quite low due to the cold air, snow densities will be quite high, allowing 6-12” of light and fluffy snow to fall on the upper mountain on Tuesday and Wednesday and another 3-6” in town.

If skies clear Wednesday night, temperatures are expected to plunge on Thursday morning to five to ten degrees below zero before returning to the twenties by the afternoon with sunny skies. Additional energy is expected to round the top of the ridge of high pressure off the West Coast, and bring a more seasonable and grazing shot of dry cool air for Friday, with temperatures climbing out of the dungeon by Saturday afternoon under continued sunny skies.

The winter-like weather takes a break for the weekend and early the following week as the West Coast ridge briefly encroaches inland, but a cold and wet pattern is advertised by the long-range models to follow.

Three day break before the next storm cycle begins

Thursday, October 24, 2019

The sun is shining brightly on this cool Thursday in Steamboat Springs, which is a welcome sight after snow the past four days (and five out of the last six)! You would’t know we had a high of 69 F a week ago on Thursday before snow moved in and likely ended the mountain biking season in town, as it looks like mid-winter out there. Enjoy the break through Saturday as we have another storm cycle starting on Sunday that will again bring unseasonably cold temperatures to our area through most of the next workweek.

Despite the ample sunshine today, high temperatures will again stay in the thirties similar to the last four days, which is around twenty degrees below our average of 55F. After the cool temperatures today, low temperatures tomorrow morning will again be ten to twenty degrees below our average of 24 F. A ridge of high pressure moves over the West on Friday and Saturday, bringing considerable warming with high temperatures moving toward average on Friday and around average on Saturday.

But the ridge of high pressure will be pushed east of our area as a storm currently in the Gulf of Alaska makes landfall along the Pacific Northwest on Friday and moves across the Great Basin on Saturday. The storm will strengthen as it mixes with some cold Canadian air, bringing first clouds to our area later Saturday and then a cold front around Saturday night or Sunday morning.

The front looks to stall over northern Colorado during the day Sunday as the storm elongates to the southwest, likely bringing cold air all the way west to Nevada. Weather forecast models always struggle with these types of storms as they try and form eddies cut off from the main jet stream, though none more than the American GFS this fall as the new dynamical core (or equation-solver) installed recently by the NWS has made the forecasts far less consistent.

That being said, we could see significant snow through Sunday, and I’m currently guessing at 3-6” in town and 6-12” on Mount Werner by Monday morning. There could be more if the storm hangs back a bit before moving east as indicated by the more consistent European ECMWF and Canadian CMC, with snow persisting through some of Monday. Additionally, the Front Range could be in for more travel issues on Sunday as low-level easterly upslope flow settles over most of the state.

Meanwhile, a ridge of high pressure is forecast to build in the Gulf of Alaska over the weekend, and a wave of energy and moisture is forecast to round the top of the ridge on Sunday, mixing with some frigid air from the North Pole. I’ve discounted the likely too-progressive solution of the disappointing-so-far-this-season American GFS, so ahead of a break on Monday I am currently expecting an arctic front around Monday night or Tuesday accompanied by bitterly cold temperatures and very fluffy low-density snowfall that should persist through the day and possibly into Wednesday morning.

While the snows look to end on Wednesday, the bitterly cold air is likely to stick around before moderating on later Thursday or Friday. Another more seasonably cold, but dry, storm is forecast to move toward our area by early the following weekend.

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