Sixty degree Tuesday followed by snow on Wednesday

Sunday, April 7, 2019

We are currently experiencing a brilliant and seasonably cool Sunday morning after a weak cool front swept through the Steamboat Springs area yesterday afternoon. Plenty of sun and warming temperatures are expected through Tuesday before a very active Pacific jet stream brings a cold winter-like storm to our area on Wednesday. Unsettled and cool weather will follow heading into Closing Weekend with perhaps a break in the storminess forecast for our last day of the season on Sunday.

Enjoy the sun and and warming temperatures early in the work week as a transient ridge of high pressure moves over the West. We may even hit the sixty degree mark on Tuesday in breezy southwest flow ahead of the incoming Wednesday storm, which is ten degrees above our average of 50 F.

The Wednesday storm will be traveling across the Great Basin on Tuesday, and colder temperatures along with some light snow begin filtering into our area late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning. The storm will intensify as it crosses the Continental Divide leading to some uncertainty in the evolution of the storm. But moderate to sometimes heavy snow is expected during the day Wednesday, even down on the Yampa Valley floor where high temperatures are expected to be fifteen or twenty degrees below average.

I’ll guess at 6-12” of snow at mid-mountain by Thursday morning, with snowfall starting relatively dense during the day but becoming fluffier as temperatures continue to drop during the day and overnight.

Snows look to taper off during a cold Thursday morning that will see low temperatures in the Yampa Valley five to ten degrees below our average of 24 F.

Additionally on Thursday, a second Pacific storm that traveled across the Gulf of Alaska and mixed with some cold air from the northern latitudes drops into the Great Basin. This storm is forecast to stay to our west and eventually south, and we will be caught in the col between the storms with weak and possibly dry northerly flow. This will keep our area cool and relatively dry for later Thursday through Friday, along with another chilly Friday morning and continued below average high temperatures.

A third weaker Pacific storm looks to graze northern Colorado on Saturday, with some accumulating snows from Friday night through Saturday night possible. However this is very uncertain as it depends upon the evolution of the previous storms, especially the second one, where there is substantial model disagreement.

Needless to say, a dry forecast for Closing Day from at least one of the weather forecast models is subject to change, though they do agree on an active storm track for the following week, and likely beyond.

Snows likely mid-weekend and again midweek

Thursday, April 4, 2019

After a quickly-moving storm cell dropped 1” at mid-mountain at the Steamboat Ski Area and close to 2” at the summit in about 40 minutes early yesterday evening, partly cloudy skies dominate the Steamboat Springs area this Thursday morning. There will be a good chance of snow around mid-weekend as a weak storm moves through, and a much better chance of significant snow around midweek as a strong winter-like storm moves through.

But first, the current partly cloudy skies may give way to an afternoon shower or two today as temperatures approach our average of 49 F. Friday will see more sun and a smaller chance of an afternoon shower, with temperatures rising above our average.

A weak and splitting storm crossing the Great Basin on Friday will move across our area on Saturday, with clouds first increasing and then showers beginning around mid-morning, though weather forecast models disagree on the timing.

Hard-to-predict storm cells are expected as a weak cool front sweeps across our area during the day, and as we saw last night, a quick inch or two from each storm cell can be expected if we are in their proximity. We could see 2-5” of accumulation at mid-mountain during the day and into the evening which would be reported Sunday morning.

A break in the active weather pattern observed in April so far is expected from Sunday through Tuesday before a very strong Pacific jet stream takes aim on the West Coast and brings a series of cold and wet storms into our area starting Wednesday.

This first storm looks to intensify as it crosses the Great Basin on Tuesday and mixes with some cold western Canadian air, bringing likely moderate to heavy snows to our area on Wednesday. This storm looks to be cold enough to drive snow levels down to the Yampa Valley floor, and favorable cold, moist and unstable northwest flow looks to keep accumulating snows going over Mt. Werner through Wednesday night and Thursday. Granted, the storm is a week away, but there is a good chance of another cold powder day in our future if current forecasts hold.

Another Pacific storm is forecast to travel across the Gulf of Alaska around midweek and again mix with some cold western Canadian air, which strengths the storm over the Pacific Northwest later in the work week. The storm is forecast to first drop south along the West Coast, and energy and moisture ejecting out of this storm will likely keep cool and unsettled weather around our area heading into the weekend. This is good news for water managers as the cool temperatures will promote a slowly melting lower and mid-elevation snowpack.

And for what it’s worth at ten days away, weather forecast models turn the West Coast storm inland early in the weekend and bring it across our area as a major winter-like storm for Closing Weekend. The very active weather looks to continue after we (unfortunately) close, with cool and unsettled weather continuing and more significant additions to the snowpack likely.

Start your ski day with toasty warm and dry boots! I use a boot dryer/warmer after every ski day, and the Happy Feet Dry-n-Warm boot dryer would be my choice if I ever had to replace my 30 year old and no-longer-manufactured look-alike. Just insert into your ski boots at the end of the day and leave them plugged in overnight. They become only slightly warmer than your body temperature so are safe to be plugged in for all footwear for days on end, though only overnight is needed for even the soggiest of liners. The ski boots are then thoroughly dry and toasty warm to start your next ski day!

Snows likely Wednesday followed by unsettled weather through the weekend

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Bluebird skies with seasonably cool temperatures are gracing the Steamboat Springs area this Sunday morning as a storm moves to our south and affects southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. Three relatively warm Pacific storms will bring chances for precipitation to our area through next weekend, with the coldest and strongest storm expected on Wednesday.

But first, the storm I discussed in the last forecast will end up south of our area, allowing for plenty of sun today with only the slightest chance of an insignificant afternoon shower at the highest elevations along the Continental Divide. Clouds currently to our south mark the northern boundary of the storm.

A weak disturbance passes north of our area early Monday morning, but only some clouds are expected through the day as temperatures approach our average high of 47 F.

Meanwhile, a Pacific storm traveling under a ridge of high pressure over Alaska will mix only slightly with some cool air from western Canada, as the ever-increasing sun angle this time of year makes cold air increasingly hard to come by at our latitude.

While this storm is expected to cross our area around Wednesday, warm southwest flow ahead of the storm will first bring increasing clouds during Tuesday with showers expected to follow by later in the day and through the overnight. These may be a rain or rain-snow mix in the Yampa Valley as weather forecast models disagree on temperatures, but precipitation would likely be a dense snow above 9000′ or so. However, these showers are difficult to forecast as coverage may be spotty.

Showers will pick up and snow levels lower on Wednesday as the storm passes before ending by around midnight. Snow amounts are again tough to forecast due to weather forecast model disagreement, with some predicting 3-6” and other closer to 5-10”, with the higher amounts at higher elevations.

A short break in the weather is timed for early Thursday as a transient ridge of high pressure briefly builds over our area before clouds and eventually showers appear ahead of the next warmer Pacific storm. This one looks to be weakly organized, chaotic and prone to splitting as it crosses the Great Basin leaving unsettled weather with a chance of showers for later in the day Thursday and Friday.

Another break in the weather is advertised for around Saturday behind what is left of the departing storm and the next approaching Pacific storm. This looks to be very similar to the storm immediately preceding it, albeit even weaker, and we may see some showers later Saturday into early Sunday as pieces of this storm move by.

The start of Closing Week for the Steamboat Ski Area looks to be seasonably warm and dry as a transient ridge of high pressure is advertised to travel over our area.

Save your soles! You suspect that the grating and grinding sounds you hear from your ski boots as you walk across hard surfaces can’t be good. In fact, worn boot soles make your binding unsafe as it interferes with the boot-binding interface. Cat Tracks are a flexible protector that keeps your boot soles pristine, and adds a cushion for walking comfort. When it’s time to click into bindings, I take them off and stash them in my coat pocket. Yaktrax are similar, but I have not used them since they appear they would take up a bit more space in my jacket pocket. But you get a rocker sole that promotes a natural stride which may be worth the space sacrifice. If I did not have to carry them around all day, these would be my choice.

Weather turns unsettled for the week ahead

Thursday, March 28, 2019

The unseasonably warm and sunny weather over the Steamboat Springs area this Thursday afternoon will give way to a a series of storms over the next week. Our best chances for snow look to occur from Friday through the weekend with seasonably cool temperatures and again around Wednesday and Thursday.

Currently, a strong storm spinning off the Pacific Northwest coast has been trapped under a ridge of high pressure that extends northward into Alaska the last few days. Another Pacific storm between Hawaii and California, which will eventually affect our weather midweek, will dislodge the Pacific Northwest storm and force it to move piecemeal across the Great Basin through the weekend, mixing with some cool western Canadian air as it moves east.

So after a mild night tonight, the leading part of the storm will bring a strong cold front through our area around mid-morning on Friday at which point snow showers will begin, even down in the Yampa Valley. Light to moderate, and at times heavy snow showers should continue through midnight or so, and I would expect 3-6” to fall at mid-mountain while the lifts are spinning and another 3-6” to fall after that.

Showers may end for a time, or not, early Saturday as the second main piece of the storm approaches. Even at this close range, there is uncertainty in the weather forecast models with how this second storm evolves, with some briefly energizing the storm as it passes near our area. While Saturday afternoon snow showers are a possibility, we may see some better snowfall Saturday night as the storm briefly stalls over western Colorado, and again during the day Sunday as the storm moves to our south, possibly resulting in some favorable cool, moist and unstable northwest flow. At this point, along with seasonably cool temperatures, we could see anything from a partly sunny day with afternoon snow showers, or more accumulating snow.

Monday and Tuesday will stay seasonably cool, along with the chance of afternoon snow showers before temperatures dramatically warm again ahead of next advancing Pacific storm that was responsible for moving the weekend storm over our area.

Again, weather forecast models disagree on the amount of cool air from western Canada that mixes with this storm, but agree on another unsettled weather pattern beginning late Tuesday or Wednesday. Snow amounts are uncertain, though it looks like our best chance for accumulating snows will be behind the cold front associated with the storm, which is forecast to cross the area around Wednesday night or Thursday. Snows will then become more showery by Friday before a break in the weather is advertised for the following weekend.

I absolutely love this super-warm split-finger mitten-glove! I’m on my second season with these and am very impressed with their durability and warmth, especially when combined with the standard HotHands handwamers. Three fingers sit together with the index finger separated, but there is enough room to scrunch all your fingers together while on the lift, which is especially nice if you have a handwarmer in the mitten-part of the glove.

Mostly sunny and warm follows weak storm today

Sunday, March 24, 2019

A weak and becoming weaker storm currently just to our west will cross the Steamboat Springs area this afternoon. Snow on the hill and mixed rain-snow in the valley will last through the evening before skies clear on Monday and temperatures warm to well above average by midweek, along with plenty of sun. Another end-of-workweek storm will bring a round of unsettled weather that now looks to end by the following weekend.

Currently, the storm to our west is weakening as the southern end of the storm to our south advances faster than the northern end of the storm to our north. This has slowed the progression of weather into our area, with showers not beginning till the afternoon. Furthermore, the split storm will bring less snow to the hill than I originally thought, with only 1-4” expected for the Monday morning mid-mountain ski report, with most of that falling before midnight.

Clouds and possibly light showers may linger in northwest flow Monday morning as the northern end of the storm passes, but skies should clear and temperature warm during the day as a building ridge of high pressure moves over the western states.

Tuesday and Wednesday look to be the warmest days of the week as lots of sun and a warm airmass allow high temperatures in the valley to reach the mid-fifties or higher, which is at least ten degrees above our average of 45 F.

Meanwhile, a strong Pacific storm currently off the West Coast is forecast to loiter south of the Gulf of Alaska for a few days as a ridge of high pressure builds to its north. Waves of Pacific energy traveling over the ridge and down its eastern side are forecast to push some cold air from western Canada into the storm, eventually forcing it eastward.

However, there is substantial weather forecast model disagreement on how far the ridge of high pressure over the Gulf bulges eastward, and this affects the eventual track and strength of storm and how cold it will be.

Right now, it appears that most of the storm will cross the northern California coast around Wednesday, bringing heavy snowfall to the northern Sierras and most of the Cascades. The storm will move piecemeal across the Great Basin Thursday through Saturday, and we’ll see warm southwest flow increasing on Wednesday and early Thursday ahead of the storm.

Showers are advertised to start as early as Thursday afternoon as moisture and energy move over our area during the day. Though they may start as rain showers at the lower elevations, cold air associated with the storm will lower snow levels to the Yampa Valley floor overnight and into Friday. Though I expect changes in the forecasts, current guidance points toward 6-12” of snow at mid-mountain between Thursday night and Friday afternoon.

Earlier weather forecast models indicated a slow moving storm that would affect us though the following weekend, but current guidance has our snow ending by Friday night as the western part of the storm still over the Great Basin receives an influx of cold air from western Canada, forcing it southward into the Desert Southwest. If this happens, a seasonably cool and dry Saturday will be followed by a chilly Sunday morning that quickly warms under an increasingly strong springtime sun.

Stop battling cold feet! I’ve used the awesome Hotronic foot warmers from their beginnings, and can honestly say that each iteration of the product is better than the last. I have the S4 custom, attached to my powerstrap so they never fall off, and my toes stay warm for my entire ski day.

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