Thursday, January 27, 2022
After some intermittent snow showers early this morning, sunny skies are over the Steamboat Springs area this Thursday afternoon. The clear skies will persist through the weekend, and though the days will see warming temperatures, quite cold nights are expected down at the Yampa Valley floor. Our next chance for precipitation looks to occur sometime after the start of the next work week.
A narrow ridge of high pressure is currently situated along the West Coast while a deep vortex of very cold air extends from Baffin Bay west of Greenland through the Great Lakes and towards our neck of the woods. The couple of small storms last Tuesday and today traveled over the top of the ridge, and mixed with some of the cold and dry air associated with the vortex, but those underwhelming storms will be the last of our interesting weather for the next five days or so as that West Coast ridge is forecast to move overhead this weekend.
The sunny skies will help moderate the arctic air mass that has settled over our area, but stout temperature inversions, where temperatures increase with height, are forecast to form over the valley through the weekend. It looks like the coldest morning of the next several will be Friday morning, with low temperatures in the valley expected to be in the negative teens, even as mountain-top low temperatures stay above zero.
We should be able to warm towards our average of 28 F in the valley on Friday as mountain-top temperatures warm into the teens, so at some point during the day the stronger warming at the surface will erase the nighttime temperature inversion.
But the temperature inversion looks to return each morning through the weekend, though there will be a steady upward trend in the low and high temperatures each day, perhaps around 5 F. The temperature inversions will be the only weather story during a gorgeous weekend, but there is some weather forecast model consensus that storminess returns to our area around next Tuesday or Wednesday. There is still disagreement on the details, and I hope to have some clarity on the upcoming pattern change by my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon.
Sunday, January 23, 2022
Bluebird skies and temperatures in the low teens at the Bob Adams airport and upper teens near the top of Mt. Werner are over the Steamboat Springs area this Sunday noon. We should see increasing clouds on Monday ahead of our next small storm on Tuesday. While Wednesday currently appears dry, another small storm looks to pass close enough to bring another round of light snow chances for Thursday followed by dry weather heading into next weekend.
As has been the case since the big snowstorms ended near the beginning of the month, a ridge of high pressure currently sits over western North America while a deep trough of low pressure centered over Hudson Bay sits over the eastern half of the continent. A couple of unimpressive waves of moisture and energy are forecast to ride over the top of the ridge of high pressure to our west and mix with some cold air spinning around the Hudson Bay vortex of cold air, bringing snowfall chances back to our area on Tuesday and Thursday.
Both of these waves are expected to split as they approach our area, which further reduces confidence in the amount of snowfall we could receive. But we should see clouds increasing on Monday ahead of the first storm, with light snowfall breaking out Monday night and continuing through the day Tuesday, leaving 2-5” of snowfall at mid-mountain at the Steamboat Ski Resort.
It looks like we will see some sun on Wednesday ahead of a similar, but weaker, storm on Thursday. Weather forecast models are still waffling on the westward extent of the storm, but it looks like we could see another 1-4” of snow which should occur during the daylight hours of Thursday.
That persistent ridge of high pressure over North America looks to move eastward and over our area to start next weekend as the flow over the Pacific reorganizes, so expect dry weather and warming temperatures, especially at the higher elevations. This shift looks to be the beginnings of a pattern change that may bring the storm track back to our area during the following work week, though I’ll be more confident of that assessment in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon.
Thursday, January 20, 2022
After a couple inches of very light powder fell last night, a mix of sun and clouds are over the Steamboat Springs area this Thursday noon, with more clouds than sun at the higher elevations and temperatures ranging from ten degrees near the top of Mt Werner to the low-twenties at the Bob Adams airport. A splitting storm will pass through our area on Friday after which dry weather is expected through the weekend.
A persistent ridge of high pressure currently located just off the West Coast is under attack by an incoming Pacific storm. There has been a lot of uncertainty with respect to the strength, moisture content and track of the storm this week, and weather forecast models have settled on a splitting storm that will bring another round of light accumulations to our area on Friday.
While the storm is currently relatively coherent as it crosses the Pacific Northwest coast, it is unfortunately forecast to split almost perfectly around us on Friday, with the southwestern part heading into the western Great Basin and the northern part racing across the Northern Plains. We will see a cold front move through around or just before the 5 am ski report, with the best snow expected through noon or so before the snow turns more showery in the afternoon and tapers off in the evening. We could see a 3-6” storm total between Thursday and Friday nights, with the bulk of the snow falling Friday morning after the ski report.
We will then be left in the col between the southwestern part of the storm and the jet stream, which will flow around a rebuilding ridge of high pressure centered over the Pacific Northwest and into the persistent area of low pressure extending southward and southwestward from Hudson Bay. As such, expect periods of sun and clouds with temperatures in the Yampa Valley warming from around our average of 27 F on Saturday to the low and mid-thirties by Sunday.
Another Pacific disturbance similar to the storm tomorrow is forecast for around Tuesday, with clouds increasing Monday ahead of the storm. There is weather forecast model disagreement on whether the storm will split, but I’ll certainly know more about that in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon.
Sunday, January 16, 2022
Mostly sunny skies filtered by high clouds and temperatures in the teens in town and around twenty near the top of Mt. Werner are over the Steamboat Springs area this Sunday noon. More of the same is expected for Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Tuesday before several passing disturbances turn the weather cooler and unsettled by Wednesday. One of these disturbances may bring a good chance of snowfall by the end of the work week.
A broad ridge of high pressure is currently centered over the West Coast while a complex trough of low pressure sits over the eastern half of North America. Additionally, an eddy cut off from the main jet stream sits off the coast of California, but is currently trapped under the ridge of high pressure.
While a Nor’Easter is forecast to develop over the next day from a storm currently centered over Georgia, our area will see benign and pleasant weather for tomorrow and Tuesday. The sunny day forecast for Martin Luther King Jr. Day will give way to some clouds on Tuesday in advance of an unsettled period of weather starting on Wednesday and punctuated by a possible storm on Friday.
The unsettled weather will be caused by weather disturbances in the Pacific traveling over the top of the ridge of high pressure over the West and mixing with the cold air in central Canada that is associated with the eastern trough of low pressure.
The big uncertainty for our area is the amount of moisture that will be contained in the Pacific disturbances and the amount of cold air eventually mixed into the storms. Right now, a mostly dry cold front is forecast for Wednesday, but there could be some snow showers that will struggle to produce accumulating snowfall as sparse moisture from that now-eastward-moving eddy from off the California coast mixes with the disturbance.
Another dry cold front is forecast for Thursday, with the final and most potent storm of this series forecast for Friday. There has been a lot of uncertainty both between and within the weather forecast models as to the amount of moisture in this storm, and it stems from how much subtropical moisture currently north of Hawaii gets mixed into a Pacific disturbance currently approaching the Dateline.
The weather forecast models have trended toward a stronger and wetter system these past few iterations, and there is a now a possibility of some not insignificant snow by the end of the work week. So stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon as the details of hopefully our next powder day emerge.
Thursday, January 13, 2022
Mostly sunny skies with temperatures in the the low twenties at the Bob Adams airport and low thirties near the top of Mt. Werner are over the Steamboat Springs area this Thursday noon. A small storm brings some snow chances for Friday, though accumulations will be light. And even though Saturday will start chilly, sunny skies return after the storm for a gorgeous weather weekend.
The weather see-saw has flipped, with the cold and snowy weather in the West observed since the end of December shifting to the East. A small storm currently crossing the Pacific Northwest coast is traveling through the ridge of high pressure over the West, and will move through our area on Friday. The storm is weak and has little moisture, so even though snow showers should get going tomorrow morning and last through the evening, accumulations at mid-mountain at the Steamboat Ski Resort are expected to be light and in the 1-4” range, or less, for a cold Saturday morning report, with more snow near the Wyoming border.
But temperatures are forecast to warm under plenty of sunshine as the ridge of high pressure rebounds over our area for the weekend and dry air moves overhead. Due to the cold start on Saturday, high temperatures in town should be around our average of 27 F, though more warming later in the weekend should raise them into the thirties by Sunday and Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
There is a chance of another small storm around midweek or soon thereafter, so stay tuned to my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon to see how that storm is developing.