Thursday, October 15, 2020
The Steamboat Springs area is seeing a sunny and brisk fall day with temperatures in the upper forties this Thursday afternoon. Temperatures will generally warm towards the mid-sixties as the winds remain stout for the upcoming week, except for several dry cold fronts that will bring below average temperatures for at least Sunday and Thursday.
The current weather pattern over North America is dominated by an expansive ridge of high pressure off the West Coast and a vortex of cold air centered near Hudson Bay and extending through the Midwest and Northeast. The cold air won’t be going anywhere for the upcoming week, and we will be susceptible to cold fronts from occasional waves of Pacific energy traveling over the West Coast ridge in northwest flow and mixing with the cold air from the Canadian Plains.
Until the first cold front arrives early on Sunday, we should see lots of sun and breezy northwest winds as the jet stream continues to move overhead. Temperatures should warm to five or so degrees above our average of 59 F for both Friday and Saturday.
Temperatures on Sunday will fall below average behind the front. There may be enough moisture for more clouds and some very light high-elevation showers, possibly before the front Saturday night and more likely later Sunday afternoon and overnight.
We’ll see some warming on Monday and cooling on Tuesday if the weakest cold front of the upcoming week grazes the area as currently forecast. And that pattern repeats starting on Wednesday as we should see warming temperatures again ahead of a stronger cold front advertised for Thursday.
A peek at the longer-range weather forecast models show a similar pattern through the following weekend, with some warming ahead of another likely dry cold front around mid-weekend. Earlier this week, the usually more-consistent European ECMWF had some sort of storm forecast in about a week, though that model has trended drier and weaker with that storm, similar to the American GFS. Stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon to see if there are any changes to our generally dry and breezy weather forecast.
Sunday, October 11, 2020
Temperatures are currently around 40 F late this Sunday afternoon in Steamboat Springs, after dropping from 60 F at 9 am to freezing around noon thanks to a strong cold front that moved through. While the snowflakes that fell this morning did briefly coat the non-paved surfaces in town with snow that quickly melted this afternoon, current breaks in the clouds reveal a white top to Mt. Werner. There may be another round of showers as we head into the evening before we’ll see a cold start to Columbus Day. Temperatures will quickly warm tomorrow afternoon and remain seasonable, but breezy, through the upcoming week, with a cool down expected on Thursday as a dry cold front passes through later Wednesday.
The cold front this morning was impressive, especially for those unlucky enough to be caught unawares. After the possibility of another shower or two as we head into the evening, we’ll see a quite cold night with low temperatures around twenty. But temperatures will quickly warm toward our average of 61 F, even under breezy winds from the west or northwest.
In fact, the elevated winds from the northwest and west look to stick around for much of the upcoming week as an active jet stream takes up residence over most of the country. But temperatures will warm to the mid-sixties on Tuesday and stay that way for most of the upcoming week, except for Thursday when they will drop below average thanks to a quick-moving and dry cold front currently timed for later Wednesday.
While a ridge of high pressure tries to build just off the West Coast behind the cold front that will affect us on Wednesday, additional waves of Pacific energy traveling over the ridge and interacting with the cold air centered near Hudson Bay will keep the recent unseasonably warm temperatures away. And while weather forecast models disagree on the outcome of the battle between the nascent West Coast ridge and cold air from Hudson Bay, they agree that through next weekend, the weather is looking dry, breezy and seasonable. Stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon to see what weather we may expect after next weekend.
Thursday, October 8, 2020
Temperatures are in the mid-seventies on this Thursday afternoon, on their way to the upper seventies, similar to yesterday when the temperature reached sixteen degrees above our 62 F average. More summery weather is expected through Saturday, with increasing winds, before a strong cold front moves through on Sunday with only modest precipitation expected. Dry but breezy weather returns for the following week, with cool temperatures starting the week on Columbus Day before moderating back towards average for much of the upcoming week.
A piece of energy left behind off the coast of California from a dry storm currently passing well to our north looks to remain detached from a strong and quick-moving storm in the Gulf of Alaska that is forecast to cross the Pacific Northwest coast early Saturday. There was hope in my last Sunday weather forecast that this piece of energy would be absorbed into the larger storm and bring good precipitation to our area, but it appears that we will instead experience a much drier cold front on Sunday when the Gulf of Alaska storm passes through.
Ahead of the front, winds from the southwest will be increasing on another warm Saturday afternoon, which bodes ill for wildfire behavior. There will be some precipitation along and behind the cold front which is expected sometime Sunday morning, with showers possible through the day and evening under cool temperatures in the fifties. Precipitation looks quite modest though, and heaviest to our north, with as much as a tenth or two of liquid expected to bring several inches of snow at the higher elevations. However, we may end up with even less as the latest weather forecast models are trending drier with the storm.
Columbus Day looks to be a brisk and dry fall day with highs once again in the fifties, but with breezy winds from the west or northwest. In fact, breezy winds look to continue through the work week as the jet stream, which separates the cold air to our north from the warm air to our south, sags over our region.
But temperatures will warm back toward average on Tuesday and Wednesday before another dry cool front passes by around Thursday and drops our high temperatures back into the fifties. Temperatures are expected to recover on Friday and into the following weekend before there is a possibility of another storm affecting our region later in the weekend. I’ll know more by my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon.
Sunday, October 4, 2020
The temperature has already hit 67 F early this Sunday afternoon in Steamboat Springs under sunny skies. More gorgeous fall weather is forecast for the work week before a strong storm brings precipitation and much colder temperatures to our area around next Sunday.
A storm currently moving across the Pacific Northwest has temporarily flattened a ridge of high pressure over the west. Before that storm grazes our area late tonight and Monday, temperatures will warm to the low seventies, almost ten degrees above our average of 64 F.
There has been some clearing of the smoke from the Middle Fork fire that was more concentrated over our area on Saturday, thanks to some increasing winds from the west, but the NOAA Smoke Plume Model also predicts these winds will move a batch of smoke from fires in the Uinta mountain range in eastern Utah over our area tonight. Though the model has the smoke clearing by sunrise, we’ll see if local wind patterns keep that smoke around longer than the model predicts.
Breezy westerly winds turning to northwesterly will be with us on Monday as that grazing storm passes by, and we should see temperatures dip a few degrees from today, closer towards average, under continued sunny skies.
The western ridge of high pressure will rebuild behind the grazing storm, keeping our sunny skies around and allowing temperatures once again to rise into the seventies on Tuesday.
Enjoy this gorgeous fall weather for most of the rest of the week as a jolting pattern change is in our future. A strong storm is forecast to move across the northern Pacific through the work week and affect our area around next weekend. Current timing brings the bulk of the storm through our area next Sunday, though the details and timing will likely change as the storm approaches.
In fact, there is weather forecast model uncertainty as to whether there is a leading part of the storm which moves over later Saturday or is absorbed into the main storm on Sunday. And while it currently appears we will receive a good dose of much needed precipitation, with snow at the higher elevations, it is not clear if most of that precipitation will fall as rain in the Yampa Valley before turning to snow later in the storm.
But by Monday, the weather forecast models agree that the precipitation will turn far more showery behind the storm with a cold and raw day likely. And though there is a lot of weather to get through between now and then, longer-range forecasts call for drying by Tuesday with warming temperatures later in the day, with dry and warmer weather continuing past midweek. Stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon for more details on this end-of-weekend storm.
Thursday, October 1, 2020
The Steamboat Springs area is seeing a comfortable temperature of 65 F under sunny skies early this Thursday afternoon. There is not really any change to the weather for the upcoming week, with sunny days and cool nights in our future. However a couple of disturbances are forecast to graze our area on Saturday and Monday leading to some breezy conditions that may increase wildfire activity.
In fact, we saw some smoke this morning for the first time in a couple of days from the close-by Middle Fork Fire that was well forecast by the NOAA smoke plume model, and that model has the smoke continuing to clear through the day. The model is run once per day overnight and provides a 42 hour forecast of smoke over the nation as well as a close-up view of Colorado.
Our current spell of beautiful weather is courtesy of a ridge of high pressure over the West Coast that is separating the cold and stormy weather over the Gulf of Alaska and the eastern half of the country. A disturbance will move down the eastern side of the ridge and graze our area on Friday and Saturday, with breezy winds the main result.
Though winds will subside on Sunday, they will pick up again on Monday as some energy rotates through the Gulf of Alaska and temporarily flattens the ridge of high pressure. But temperatures look to be largely unaffected by these passing disturbances, so expect mostly sunny skies through the upcoming week with high temperatures within several degrees of seventy, a bit above our average high of 65 F and low temperatures in the twenties, a bit below our average low of 30 F.
There may be some hope of a pattern change around the following weekend or soon after as ridges of high pressure over the West Coast and the Scandinavian countries conspire to shift the cold air currently over the North Pole and Hudson Bay into western Siberia and the north Pacific. So enjoy the beautiful fall weather now, and I should know more about that pattern change possibility by my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon.