Some snow likely during closing week

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Mostly sunny skies with temperatures of 53 F at the Bob Adams airport and 44 F at the top of Mt. Werner are over the Steamboat Springs area late this Easter Sunday morning. Another couple of days with high temperatures in the sixties will be followed by snow chances for later Tuesday and Wednesday as a compact storm passes through our area. Drying and more seasonable temperatures are forecast for the rest of the work week and into the closing weekend of the Steamboat Ski Resort.

A storm passing through the Gulf of Alaska earlier in the weekend has split, with the northern part of the storm currently located over the Vancouver region and the southern part forming an eddy off the West Coast. The northern part of the storm is forecast to undergo its own split today, with the southern part forming an eddy that passes over our area from later Tuesday through Wednesday.

This eventual and complicated evolution of the Gulf of Alaska storm is why there was so much uncertainty in earlier weather forecasts. Ahead of the storm, expect another couple of unseasonably warm days for today and Monday, with periods of clouds and sun today as some moisture scoots by and more sun on Monday.

The cold front associated with the incoming storm looks to pass through by midday on Tuesday for a mostly raw day, with increasing clouds and breezy conditions, though nothing like the wind we saw with last week’s dry storm. The storm is forecast to intensify a bit as it moves through, and with showers starting after the cold front passes, possibly with a rain/snow mix at the lower elevations, we could see 2-5” of snowfall at mid-mountain by noon on Wednesday in the favorable moist and unstable northwest flow behind the storm.

This may be the last snowfall while the Steamboat Ski Resort is open, though the weather for closing day is uncertain, as one incoming storm passes well north of our area on Thursday and the next incoming storm tries to mix with that leftover eddy off the West Coast during the weekend. A weak ridge of high pressure is forecast to build over the West through Saturday, and though we will see above average temperatures from midweek through then, they look to be cooler than the temperatures we are currently seeing.

There is weather forecast model uncertainty during next weekend with regards to the interaction, similar to the American GFS, or not, similar to the European ECWMF, of the next incoming storm and that eddy off the West Coast, but the weather looks like it may be unsettled, possibly as early as closing day. Enjoy the changing seasons over the next few days, with the warm spring weather today and tomorrow hopefully giving way to some fresh snow for Wednesday morning. And stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon where I’ll discuss the weather for closing weekend and what may be in store for us the following week.

Gorgeous weather lasts through the weekend

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Bluebird skies and temperatures of 40 F at the Bob Adams airport and 31 F near the top of Mt. Werner are over the Steamboat Springs area this Thursday noon. Warming temperatures and dry skies will extend through the weekend and into Monday before chances for cooler weather and precipitation appear during closing week of the Steamboat Ski Resort.

A ridge of high pressure is currently over the West ahead of a developing storm in the Gulf of Alaska. A piece of energy left behind from our disappointingly dry and windy storm on Tuesday is currently crossing the southern California coast and is forecast to travel along southern Arizona tomorrow and southern New Mexico on Saturday. We may see some clouds tonight ahead of the system, but otherwise sunny skies will dominate through Saturday with high temperatures today near our average of 48 F. More warming into the fifties is forecast for Friday, with sixties forecast for Saturday.

Weather forecast models are still struggling with the evolution of that Gulf of Alaska storm, with the consensus forecast now a compromise between the slower European ECMWF and faster American GFS as talked about in the last weather narrative. The current forecast now has the storm stretching to the southwest as it approaches the Pacific Northwest coast late in the weekend before it splits, with some of the storm forecast to be left behind off the West Coast and some moving inland.

There is still weather forecast model disagreement on how much energy is in the northern and southern parts of the split, but it appears we will not see cooler weather associated with the northern part of the split till around Tuesday. So ahead of that, expect more sixties for Easter Sunday and Monday, with some high clouds on Sunday as moisture ahead of the storm scoots across the Rockies.

There are snow chances for around Wednesday, though those will depend upon the eventual strength and track of the northern part of the storm. Enjoy the spectacular early spring weather through the weekend, and check back Sunday afternoon for my regularly scheduled weather narrative to see if we’ll see snow during closing week.

Strong and mostly dry cold front arrives Monday afternoon

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Mostly sunny skies with temperatures of 35 F at the Bob Adams airport and 21 F near the top of Mt. Werner are over the Steamboat Springs area late this Sunday morning. Plenty of sun and warming temperatures can be expected for the rest of today and Monday morning before a strong, windy and moisture-starved cold front passes through our area Monday afternoon. After a dry and cool Tuesday, warming temperatures are forecast through the work week and next weekend.

The Steamboat Ski Resort reported 4.5” at mid-mountain and 7” up top yesterday morning thanks to a couple of storm cells that passed through late Friday. The first cell dropped 4” of snowfall between 4:40 pm and 6:40 pm on the Steamboat Powdercam and the second an additional 3” between 8:40 pm and 9:40 pm. These storm sells are similar to summertime thunderstorms in that they are localized and capable of hefty precipitation rates over short periods of time; in fact my weather station recorded a lighting flash as the first cell approached which was indicative of the unstable spring atmosphere.

So after a cool day yesterday, we should see some sun and clouds with temperatures around our average of 46 F today. Monday will start sunny, though the cold front I talked about in the last weather narrative will arrive earlier, and unfortunately drier than earlier advertised, and is now expected on Monday afternoon. The storm will still be windy, possibly affecting lift operations at the Steamboat Ski Area, with falling temperatures Monday afternoon and snow showers starting first at the higher elevations and then descending to the valley floor by around sunset. It now appears that the bulk of the 1-4” of snowfall expected at mid-mountain will be over by around midnight and will be followed by a brisk Tuesday with some sun and clouds and temperatures ten to fifteen degrees below average.

Sunny skies with temperatures approaching average are forecast for Wednesday, with continued sunny skies and temperatures within five degrees of sixty expected by Thursday and lasting through the next weekend.

Chances for additional snowfall after next weekend and for the closing week of the Steamboat Ski Resort are uncertain at this time. There is a storm that weather forecast models agree will develop in the Gulf of Alaska by the end of the work week and approach the West Coast during next weekend, though it is not clear if the storm loiters off the coast during closing week as depicted by the European ECMWF of moves inland like the American GFS. Stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon when our weather for closing week should be in better focus.

Nice weather between Friday and Tuesday storms

Thursday, March 25, 2021

The Steamboat Springs area has seen periods of sun and snow this Thursday morning ahead of a storm centered on Friday. Nice weather returns after lingering snow showers on Saturday morning before an unseasonably cold storm is forecast for around Tuesday.

The current morning snow showers are in advance of a storm that will continue to produce snow showers for the rest of today and through Friday and into Saturday morning. Currently, the bulk of the storm is broadly draped across the western states with an ejecting piece of energy and moisture bringing the snow showers to our area today, most prevalent at the higher elevations.

Another piece of incoming energy will split as it is incorporated into the storm, with the southern piece ushering the bulk of the storm through the southern Great Basin and eventually southern Colorado tomorrow. It does look like there will be enough energy and moisture for continued snow showers through the rest of today and some of tonight, and I would expect 2-5” of snow to be reported by Friday morning.

The northern part of the split will turn our winds to be first from the west around noon on Friday and then our favorable northwest direction by the afternoon and overnight. While the snowfall looks to linger into Saturday morning, or even the afternoon at the higher elevations, most of the accumulating snowfall should be over by Saturday morning when we could see an additional 2-5” on the morning ski report.

As discussed in the last weather narrative, the current storm did indeed leave behind a chunk of energy spinning north of Hawaii earlier in the week, and this will be incorporated into our next incoming storm for around Tuesday which originated in Siberia. This makes the storm unseasonably cold, with current temperatures at about 10,000′ in the -20 F range! But the frigid temperatures will moderate as the storm crosses the Gulf of Alaska through the weekend and mixes with the left-over storm north of Hawaii, so while the storm will be certainly be cold by the time it makes it to our area, we won’t see the current sub-zero temperatures at mountain-top.

Ahead of that storm and behind the Friday storm, we’ll see clouds linger on Saturday, especially at the higher elevations, for a cool day with high temperatures five to ten degrees below our average of 45 F. But lots of sun is forecast for Sunday and Monday with high temperatures in the Yampa Valley on Sunday up to ten degrees above average and an even warmer Monday with temperatures possibly approaching the sixty degree mark.

The Tuesday storm is currently looking significant, with windy conditions likely ahead of the front on Monday and with the front on Monday night. I’ll hold off guessing at snow amounts for a storm five days away, but a strong cold front is likely which will be a shock after possibly the warmest day of the year so far on Monday. Right now, the bulk of the snow looks to fall during Monday night and Tuesday morning, but changes in the speed of the storm will change the period of heaviest snowfall. A trailing wave will keep the cool weather around for Wednesday, along with additional snow showers, before warm and dry springtime weather is forecast to return in a big way for the end of the work week.

Stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon when I should have a much better idea of how cold and wet the currently promising Tuesday storm will be.

Winter returns after the first day of spring

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Mostly sunny skies have settled over the Steamboat Springs area early this Saturday afternoon after some clouds this morning. And to commemorate the first day of spring, which occurred at 3:37 am this morning as the sun crossed the equator and ventured into the northern hemisphere, we find warm temperatures of 54 F at the Bob Adams airport and 38 F at the top of the Steamboat Ski Area. But spring turns back to winter tonight as a strong cold front blasts through our area, starting a stretch of cool and unsettled weather that may be punctuated by a significant storm near the end of next week.

A storm currently crossing the Great Basin will bring a cold front through our area late this evening with periods of moderate to heavy snow. While the storm is currently elongating to the southwest and weakening as it approaches our area, additional upstream energy will reinvigorate the storm as it passes through, with 3-6” of snow possible by the Sunday morning report. The storm will also slow as additional upstream energy is incorporated, and anther 1-4” of snowfall is expected during the day Sunday and into the evening.

An additional storm currently traveling through the Gulf of Alaska is forecast to quickly follow on Tuesday, and it is not clear if snowfall stops or just becomes very light and showery on Monday behind the Sunday storm and ahead of the Tuesday storm, especially at the higher elevations.

The Tuesday storm is forecast to split around our area, and while we will see at least light snowfall from Monday night through Tuesday night, forecast amounts are uncertain. My guess is that we could see 2-5” during the day Tuesday and overnight which would be reported on Wednesday morning.

Yet another storm currently approaching the Aleutian Islands is forecast to strengthen and split as it approaches the Gulf of Alaska, leaving behind a large chunk of energy north of Hawaii which may become a player in our weather sometime after next weekend.

But enough energy remains with the storm as it passes through the Gulf and mixes with cold air from the Yukon to make it a possibly significant storm for our area near the end of the work week and into the following weekend.

While it does appear we will see a break in the weather between the Tuesday storm and the end-of-work-week storm, the speed and evolution of the late-week storm will determine whether that break lasts for only part of Wednesday, or into Thursday as well.

While this weather narrative was published a day earlier than usual due to uncertainty around tomorrow’s storm, stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon where I’ll discuss what may be a significant storm heading into next weekend.

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6 November 2022

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