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Storm chances decrease for the weekend

Thursday, July 14, 2022

The clouds over Steamboat Springs this Thursday morning have dissipated early this afternoon leaving mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the low eighties. Good chances for afternoon and overnight storms will continue today and more so on Friday before they decrease for the weekend as drier air pushes through the northern Colorado region.

A ridge of high pressure continues to sit over the West while a storm is located in the Gulf of Alaska. Monsoonal moisture from the south has been drawn around the ridge of high pressure and over our area starting yesterday, and that will continue today and tomorrow. While some areas may receive brief locally heavy rain, frequent lightning, small hail and gusty winds, some areas may receive nothing, and this was the case yesterday when the downtown area received over an inch of rain in about ten minutes along with marble sized hail! But while the core of that storm cell was intense, it was also small as only a third of an inch was recorded between the mountain and downtown and my rain gauge about 3 miles south of downtown showed only 0.15”.

Good storm chances will persist for later today and tonight as subtle impulses of energy rotate around the ridge of high pressure and encourage storm formation. Better chances for daytime and overnight storms exist for Friday as cold air moving through the Bering Sea dislodges the Gulf of Alaska storm eastward and drags a left-over piece of energy off the coast of northern California through the northern and central Rockies, temporarily flattening the ridge of high pressure. Even short term weather forecast models have a difficult time with timing and placement of these storms, but some areas are likely to receive the same brief heavy rain, frequent lighting, small hail and gusty winds that downtown saw yesterday afternoon.

The ridge of high pressure rebounds behind the disturbance on Friday as drier air ahead of the eastward moving Gulf of Alaska storm overspreads at least northern Colorado starting on Saturday for a downturn in storm chances, though the storms that do develop could still be strong. By late in the weekend, that Gulf of Alaska storm is forecast to cross the Vancouver coast, with the southerly flow ahead of that storm allowing some monsoonal moisture to return northward, though at this point most of that moisture will still be south of us for another day of reduced storm chances.

That Gulf of Alaska storm is forecast to eventually move across Montana early in the work week, though there is weather forecast model disagreement on the amount of dry air that may move overhead as well as whether the proximity of the grazing storm will allow for stronger thunderstorms. But check back for my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon where I should have a better idea of the weather for the coming work week.

Sunny mornings and hot days with afternoon storm chances by midweek

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Temperatures are already in the low eighties under sunny skies this Sunday noon in Steamboat Springs, on their way toward the ninety degree mark for the second day in a row. Though there is a bit more moisture in the air today as evidenced by the smattering of clouds, there is only a slight chance of a late-day storm that would produce mostly gusty winds. A grazing dry cool front tonight will only drop temperatures several degrees on Monday and Tuesday before they increase again by midweek, along with chances of afternoon storms lasting into next weekend.

A weather disturbance currently moving through the Pacific Northwest will temporarily squash the ridge of high pressure over our area and drag a weak cool front through tonight. While we have seen a small increase in moisture today as compared to yesterday, the chances for storms are small with gusty winds the main effect as any precipitation that falls will evaporate in the dry lower levels of the atmosphere when afternoon relative humidities fall to near ten percent.

Winds will shift to be from the west and northwest behind the front for Monday, eliminating the chance of storms as the moisture flow from the south is temporarily severed. And we will see a drop in high temperatures of several degrees, though they will still be several degrees above our average of 83 F.

By Tuesday, the squashed ridge of high pressure oozes back west as it begins to rebound behind the grazing weather disturbance, with similar temperatures to Monday along with some afternoon clouds. Another storm forecast to cross the Vancouver coast by midweek will switch our winds back to the south as the ridge of high pressure rebuilds over the West, carrying better monsoonal moisture back over our area starting on Wednesday and continuing into the weekend.

While we will have better chances of wetting afternoon rains, amounts at this time look meager, with total rainfall only forecast to be around a tenth of an inch through the weekend. But with the typical summertime sunny mornings, the moisture will at least produce clouds which will moderate the hot afternoon temperatures expected to reach into the upper eighties.

Enjoy the very typical summertime weather for the Colorado high country this week, and check back for my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon for an update on the coming weekend weather.

This weekend to be hottest of the summer so far

Thursday, July 7, 2022

After a sunny morning in Steamboat Springs, skies have become partly cloudy this Thursday mid-afternoon with temperatures around eighty degrees. There are chances for some spotty precipitation today thanks to the nearby afternoon storm clouds, though those chances all but disappear for the weekend as high temperatures rise to threaten the ninety degree mark.

A ridge of high pressure is currently over the length of the Rocky Mountains while a storm is spinning off the Vancouver coast. That storm is forecast to be pushed eastward by cold air from the North Pole that moved through the Bering Sea yesterday, which will allow very dry air from the Desert Southwest to overspread our area for tomorrow and the weekend as winds shift to be from the current southerly direction to be from the southwest.

Even clouds will be hard to come by on Friday and Saturday, though afternoon clouds should be around on Sunday and Monday as winds briefly turn to be more from the south thanks to the southern end of that Vancouver storm, which is forecast to move through Montana late in the weekend. There may even be a shower, though any precipitation would likely be confined to the highest elevations.

High temperatures will be in the mid-eighties tomorrow, and upper eighties by both days of the weekend, which is around five degrees above our average of 83 F. And even though we may tickle the ninety degree mark, the record high of 94 F on both those days looks safe.

A generally hot and dry week looks to follow the weekend, though I’ll update that forecast in my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon.

Shower chances linger through midweek ahead of increasingly hot weather

Sunday, July 3, 2022

After a brief rain shower around noon in Steamboat Springs, skies have turned mostly sunny with temperatures in the mid-seventies and relative humidities still above forty percent this Sunday mid-afternoon. Shower chances will decrease for Independence Day before increasing again on Tuesday and Wednesday before drier air invades and temperatures rise as we head into next weekend.

A storm is currently spinning over the Pacific Northwest coast while an expansive ridge of high pressure sits over the southeast and extends through the Midwest. Winds from the southwest ahead of the storm to our northwest and on the backside of the ridge of high pressure to our east has brought good moisture from the south over our area in a classic monsoon pattern. But just because the moisture is around does not mean it will rain, though if it does rain it can come in brief and locally heavy cloudbursts. For example, areas around town quickly received between a third and half inch of rain on Thursday and between one and two tenths of an inch on Friday, while yesterday was almost completely dry.

Today has been relatively active as some upper level energy caught in the overhead southwest flow encourages storm development, with shower chances continuing into the evening.

Some energy ejecting out of the Pacific Northwest storm will pass well to our northwest tomorrow, but will nudge the high pressure to the east and bend the plume of monsoonal moisture away from our area on Independence Day, for another downturn in shower chances.

The ridge of high pressure and associated monsoonal moisture plume rebounds back to the west behind the ejecting energy to our northwest, with an increase in storm activity likely for Tuesday and Wednesday.

Meanwhile additional cold air from the North Pole moving through the Bering Sea is forecast to eventually boot the Pacific Northwest storm bodily eastward along the Canadian border by the end of the work week. And this time, very dry air from off the coast of California behind the storm looks to overspread our area and at least temporarily shut off the monsoonal moisture tap. So look for much drier days after midweek with temperatures increasing from the low-eighties on Thursday, mid-eighties on Friday and perhaps ninety by Saturday, which would be above our average high temperature of 83 F.

Enjoy the rest of the long holiday weekend, and be sure to check back for my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Thursday afternoon where I’ll see if Saturday is still looking like it will be the hottest day of the summer so far.

Afternoon showers possible through the Independence Day weekend

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Cloudy skies, temperatures around seventy degrees and relative humidities above fifty percent are over the Steamboat Springs area this Thursday mid-afternoon. There will be good chances for rain later today and overnight, with those chances being relegated to the afternoon and evening and diminishing, but certainly not disappearing, for the duration of the long Independence Day weekend.

A ridge of high pressure is forecast to rebuild over the Intermountain West this weekend while an area of low pressure currently near the Gulf of Alaska is forecast to strengthen as it elongates southward along the West Coast. Some energy from the west being dragged eastward by the southern edge of a storm rotating through the Great Lakes will combine with the high humidities over our region for good rain chances this evening and overnight.

Winds from the south ahead of the West Coast storm will encourage the ridge of high pressure to rebuild over the Rocky Mountains this weekend, and the combination of those two features means the monsoonal moisture tap from the south will continue through the holiday weekend. Because the ridge of high pressure will help steer upper level energy around our area, we will be dependent upon the heat of the day to create an unstable enough atmosphere for the usual afternoon and evening showers.

Weather forecast models agree the West Coast storm will stay to our west as any eastward progress will be met by stout resistance from the ridge of high pressure over our area, though at some point next week it appears the West Coast storm will move to the east far enough to bring drier air overhead. So while it appears the atmosphere will dry and warm after the weekend, there is uncertainty with respect to the timing. Stay tuned as I’ll know more about that by my next regularly scheduled weather narrative on Sunday afternoon.

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7 July 2020

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